US productivity growth unrevised at 5.4% rate in Q1

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. productivity growth was unrevised at a 5.4% rate in the first three months of the year while labor costs rose at an even faster rate.

The first quarter gain in productivity was unchanged from the initial estimate a month ago, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The 5.4% gain at a seasonally adjusted annual rate followed a steep plunge at a 3.8% rate in the fourth quarter.

Labor costs rose at a 1.7% rate in the first quarter, up from the initial estimate that labor costs had fallen 0.3% in the first quarter.

Productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, showed turned in weak gains over the record-long economic expansion that ended with the pandemic-triggered recession last year.

Economists are hoping that some of the efficiencies businesses have implemented to cope with the pandemic may lead to stronger productivity gains in coming years.

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