Productivity up strongly while labor costs drop - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Productivity up strongly while labor costs drop


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The work force was more efficient last year with productivity rising at the fastest pace in eight years while labor costs fell for a second straight year, something that hasn't happened in nearly five decades.

The Labor Department says that productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, rose a strong 3.6 percent in 2010 after a 3.5 percent gain in 2009, with both years the best showing since 2002. Labor costs dropped 1.5 percent last year after a 1.6 percent decline in 2009.

But economists say the two-year surge in productivity is coming to an end as companies exhaust their ability to squeeze more output out of depleted work forces. They look for more hiring in 2011 which will help boost incomes.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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