Productivity growth slows in 1st quarter

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Associated Press

Posted on June 2, 2011 at 9:01 AM

Updated Thursday, Jun 2 at 9:02 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies squeezed more work out of their staffs in the first three months of the year. But the gain was much slower than in the previous three months, suggesting many employers will need to hire more workers if they want to produce more goods and services.

The Labor Department says productivity rose at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the January-March period. That was slightly faster than an earlier estimate of 1.6 percent, but significantly lower than the 2.9 percent increase in the October-December period. Unit labor costs rose at a 0.7 percent rate, down from an initial estimate of 1 percent growth.

The revisions reflected more non-farm business output than previously believed while the drop in unit labor costs reflected lower compensation costs per hour of work.

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