Posted December 8, 2020

Third-quarter productivity increased 4.6 percent 

Productivity increased 4.6 percent in the third quarter of 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, as output increased 43.4 percent and hours worked increased 37.1 percent.

The third-quarter gain follows an increase of 10.6 percent during the second quarter. Over the last four quarters, nonfarm business productivity increased 4.0 percent, reflecting a 3.4-percent decline in output and a 7.1-percent decline in hours worked.

Manufacturing sector labor productivity increased at a 19.9 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2020 as output increased at a 56.2 percent annual rate and hours worked increased at a 30.3 percent annual rate. These series-high increases in the third quarter of 2020 follow the largest decreases in these three measures in the second quarter, when total manufacturing productivity fell 14.0 percent, output dropped 46.5 percent, and hours worked fell 37.8 percent. As of the third quarter of 2020, output remains 5.7 percent below its fourth-quarter 2019 index level, while hours worked is 6.8 percent lower.

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