U.S. worker productivity rebounds but labor costs elevated

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U.S. worker productivity rebounds but labor costs elevated

WASHINGTON Reuters -- U.S. worker productivity rebounded a bit more than initially thought in the third quarter, but the trend remained weak, keeping labor costs elevated.

The Labor Department said that nonfarm productivity, which measures hourly output per worker, increased at a 0.8% annualized rate last quarter. It was revised up from the 0.3% pace reported last month. Economists polled by Reuters said that productivity would be revised up to a 0.6% pace.

Productivity fell at a 1.3% rate from a year ago, instead of the previously reported 1.4% rate. In the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic, large shifts in the composition of the workforce have made it harder to measure productivity.

The labor costs per unit of output - the price of labor per unit of output - increased at a 2.4% rate. They were previously reported to have advanced at a 3.5% pace.

The labor costs went up by 5.3% from a year ago, rather than the previously reported 6.1% pace.