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U.S. Productivity Falls Most Since 1981, Damped by Slower Growth

  • Nonfarm productivity decreased at 5% rate, missing estimates
  • Hours worked increased while economic growth slowed sharply
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Productivity in the U.S fell by the most since 1981 in the third quarter, reflecting a sharp pullback in economic growth and an increase in hours worked. 

Nonfarm business employee output per hour decreased at a 5% annualized rate in the third quarter, according to Labor Department figures Thursday. That compared to a 2.4% gain in the second quarter and the 3.1% projected decline in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Productivity growth rates can be extremely volatile.