Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased at an 8.1% annual rate during the third quarter of 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. This was the largest gain in productivity since the third quarter of 2003, and reflects a 2.9% increase in output and a 4.8% decline in hours worked. (All quarterly percent changes are seasonally adjusted annual rates.)
Manufacturing sector productivity grew 13.4% in the third quarter of 2009, as output rose 8.4% and hours worked fell 4.4%. The third quarter gain in manufacturing productivity was the largest in the series, which begins in the second quarter of 1987.
Over the last four quarters, manufacturing productivity grew 3%. Manufacturing unit labor costs fell 6.1% in the third quarter of 2009, but rose 3% over the past four quarters.
Labor productivity is calculated by dividing an index of real output by an index of the combined hours worked of all persons, including employees, proprietors, and unpaid family workers.