Productivity On the Rise

Productivity On the Rise

Productivity gains play an important role in economic output, and recent gains support an encouraging picture of the U.S. economy. Productivity, first and foremost, is a primary driver of gross domestic product (GDP) growth [Figure 1]. In the second quarter of 2018, nonfarm productivity rose 2.9%, its fastest pace of growth since the first quarter of 2015. Business sector productivity grew 3.6%, its biggest quarterly jump since the fourth quarter of 2009, while manufacturing sector productivity rose 0.9%. Nonfarm productivity grew primarily from an increase in output per hour of work (versus the number of hours worked). Output increased 4.8% quarter over quarter (its fastest pace since 2014), while hours worked grew 1.9% (versus a 2.2% rise in the first quarter).

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