Posted November 5, 2020

Third quarter productivity increased 4.9 percent

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 4.9 percent in the third quarter of 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, as output increased 43.5 percent and hours worked increased 36.8 percent.

The 4.9-percent gain in productivity in the third quarter was the second consecutive large increase in the measure—productivity had increased 10.6 percent in the second quarter of 2020. With the exception of the second quarter, productivity growth in the third quarter of 2020 was the largest quarterly increase since the fourth quarter of 2009 (5.7 percent).

Manufacturing sector labor productivity increased at a 19.0 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2020. This is the largest increase in the series, which begins in the first quarter of 1987. Manufacturing output increased at a series-high 54.8 percent annual rate and hours worked increased at a series-high 30.1 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2020.

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