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Productivity in U.S. Rises as Companies Try to Cut Labor Costs

The productivity of U.S. workers rose in the first quarter as companies focused on containing labor expenses.

The measure of employee output per hour increased at a 0.7 percent annual rate, after dropping 1.7 percent in the prior three months, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 1 percent advance. Expenses per worker increased at a 0.5 percent rate after jumping 4.4 percent.