Now if we could only get back to more normal rates of employment growth, the future would look bright indeed:
Productivity and Costs, First Quarter 2005, Preliminary : The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor today reported preliminary productivity data--as measured by output per hour of all persons--for the first quarter of 2005. The seasonally adjusted annual rates of productivity change in the first quarter were: 2.1 percent in the business sector and 2.6 percent in the nonfarm business sector.
Productivity in the business sector grew more slowly than in the fourth quarter of 2004, when it increased 3.7 percent. In the nonfarm business sector, however, productivity increased more in the first quarter than it had in the previous quarter. Nonfarm business labor productivity increased 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004.
In manufacturing, productivity changes in the first quarter were: 3.9 percent in manufacturing, 6.3 percent in durable goods manufacturing, and 1.3 percent in nondurable goods manufacturing. Productivity growth in manufacturing in the first quarter of 2005 reflected a 3.3-percent increase in output and a drop of 0.7 percent in hours worked in the sector. Output and hours in manufacturing, which includes about 13 percent of U.S. business sector employment, tend to vary more from quarter to quarter than data for the aggregate business and nonfarm business sectors...