Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- Productivity and Costs
Nonfarm business sector productivity—real output per hour of all persons—rose at a revised annualized rate of 1.8 percent in the first quarter 2011, up from an initial 1.6 percent gain, but still slipping from a 2.9 percent gain in the fourth quarter 2010. Productivity advanced just 1.3 percent over the past four quarters. The upward productivity revision in the first quarter came after a bump in first-quarter output, from 3.1 percent to 3.2 percent. Hours remained unchanged after revisions, growing at an annualized rate of 1.4 percent. Hourly compensation increased 2.5 percent in the first quarter, coming in just below the original first-quarter estimate of 2.6 percent. After adjusting for price changes, real compensation was notched down 0.1 percentage point to a 2.6 percent drop. Hourly compensation, both nominal and real, was also revised down sharply in the fourth quarter of 2010. The nominal fourth-quarter gain fell from 1.9 percent to 0.1 percent, and the real measure was revised down from a 0.8 percent decrease to a 2.6 percent decline, helping to push the real measure from a 0.3 percent increase to a 0.2 percent decline on a year-over-year basis. After revisions, unit labor costs—compensation per hour divided by output per hour—are now estimated to have grown 0.7 percent in the first quarter rather than 1.0 percent, and the year-over-year estimate has fallen from a 1.2 percent gain to a softer 0.7 percent increase.