Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- Productivity and Costs
Nonfarm business sector productivity—real output per hour of all persons—declined faster than originally estimated in the first quarter of 2012, decreasing at an annualized rate of 0.9 percent after being revised down from a 0.5 percent drop. Over the past four quarters, productivity growth has slowed to just 0.4 percent. The revisions were the result of a 0.3 percentage point decline in output, which grew 2.4 percent in the first quarter, and a slight tick up in the rate at which hours worked grew. Hourly compensation was heavily revised in both the first quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2011. In the first quarter, compensation grew at a revised rate of 0.4 percent (1.5 percent initially), while the fourth quarter compensation numbers tumbled from a 3.9 percent gain to a 0.4 percent fall. After adjusting for price changes, real hourly compensation has now fallen 2.0 percent in the first quarter following a 1.6 percent drop in the fourth quarter. Unit labor costs were dragged down by the lower compensation numbers, increasing just 1.3 percent in the first quarter (after a 0.7 percentage point downward revision) and declining 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter. The four-quarter growth rate dropped from 2.0 percent to 0.9 percent in the first quarter, hitting its lowest mark since 2010.