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Economy

US productivity grew a healthy 2.3% rate in the 2nd quarter

Key Points
  • U.S. productivity increased at a decent pace in the second quarter.
  • The trend could lead to higher wages if it continues.
  • Productivity — or output per hour worked — rose 2.3% in quarter, down from 3.5% in the first three months of the year, the Labor Department said.
A worker builds a 2020 Ford Explorer car at Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant in Chicago, June 24, 2019.
Kamil Krzaczynski | Reuters

U.S. productivity increased at a decent pace in the second quarter, a trend that could lead to higher wages if it continues.

The Labor Department said Thursday that productivity — or output per hour worked — rose 2.3% in the April-June quarter, down from 3.5% in the first three months of the year. The first quarter gain was the best in four years.

Greater productivity is a key ingredient in raising living standards. It enables companies to lift worker pay without raising prices on costumers.

The recovery, now in its 11th year, has been held back by historically weak productivity growth. It has grown at roughly two-thirds of its historical average since the recession began.

Yet productivity has picked up in recent quarters and expanded 1.8% in the past year.

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Economy

US weekly jobless claims rise more than expected

Key Points
  • The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits increased more than expected last week.
  • The labor market trend continued to point to a strong labor market, however.
  • Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose to 220,000 for the week ended Aug. 10, the Labor Department said.