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Noah Smith

Productivity Crisis? U.S. Workers Are Pulling Their Weight

This is the usual situation when a country comes out of a financial crisis. The pendulum will swing back.
They haven't won yet.

They haven't won yet.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett

Declining U.S. worker productivity has become a hot issue during the presidential campaign, among economists and press as well as the candidates themselves. Labor productivity -- defined as the amount of GDP produced per hour worked -- just registered its third straight quarterly decline. Kevin Drum of Mother Jones is only one of many who see this as cause for concern:

But I’m not so concerned, for several reasons. First of all, this decline is perfectly normal. Take a look at the recent history of labor productivity: