Nonfarm business sector labor productivity rose sharply by 3.6% in the first quarter (Q1) 2019, beating the consensus and high end of the forecast range. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said output gained 4.1% and hours worked rose by 0.5%.
|Prior||Revised||Consensus Forecast||Forecast Range||Actual|
|Nonfarm Productivity – Q/Q ∆ – SAAR||1.9%||1.3%||1.9%||0.5% — 3.0%||3.6%|
|Unit Labor Costs – Q/Q ∆ – SAAR||2.0%||2.5%||1.8%||-0.5% — 3.0%||-0.9%|
SAAR = Seasonally adjusted annual rate.
From Q1 2018 to Q1 2019, productivity rose 2.4%, representing a 3.9% gain in output and a 1.5% gain in hours worked. The four-quarter increase in labor productivity is the largest gain since Q3 2010, when it posted at 2.7%.
Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector declined 0.9% in Q1 2019, and gained 0.1% over the last four quarters. That’s the lowest four-quarter rate since Q4 2014, when it posted a 1.7% decrease.
Manufacturing sector labor productivity rose 1.7% in Q1 2019.
Labor productivity, or output per hour, is calculated by dividing an index of real output by an index of hours worked by all persons, including employees, proprietors, and unpaid family workers.