Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- Productivity and Costs
In the fourth quarter of 2013, nonfarm business sector productivity—real output per hour of all persons—increased at an annualized rate of 3.2 percent according to the preliminary estimate. This follows two consecutive quarterly increases in productivity during the middle half of the year, and since the fourth quarter of 2012, productivity has increased 1.7 percent. The increase in the last quarter of 2013 was driven by stronger output growth relative to the increase in hours. Real output increased 4.9 percent for the quarter, while hours increased just 1.7 percent. Real hourly compensation, which is measured as compensation per hour after controlling for price changes, increased 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter after declining 1.0 percent in the previous quarter. On a year-over-year basis, hourly compensation has decreased 0.9 percent. Unit labor costs, which are measured as the ratio of hourly compensation to hourly output, fell 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, as they have declined in three of the past four quarters. Since the end of last year, unit labor costs are down 1.3 percent.