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US Productivity Grew at Strong 2.9 Percent Rate in 2nd Quarter

Productivity determines how fast the economy can grow and how much living standards can increase

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    US Productivity Grew at Strong 2.9 Percent Rate in 2nd Quarter
    AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File
    In this June 20, 2018, file photo, a worker wields a hammer at a construction site in Boston. On Thursday, the Labor Department issued updated data on productivity in the second quarter.

    What to Know

    • The 2.9 percent rate growth followed a tepid 0.3 percent gain in the first quarter

    • Productivity has been weak throughout this nine-year expansion

    • Productivity determines how fast the economy can grow and how much living standards can increase

    The Labor Department on Thursday affirmed last month's report that U.S. productivity increased at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in the second quarter.

    The government reported few revisions to the productivity figures released in August. The jump in productivity followed a tepid 0.3 percent gain in the first quarter. Labor costs slipped 1 percent in the April-June quarter, instead of the 0.9 percent that was initially reported.

    Productivity, which determines how fast the economy can grow and how much living standards can increase, has been weak throughout this nine-year expansion. Many economists view the strong second-quarter growth as a blip rather than a lasting acceleration.

    Separately, the Labor Department said Thursday that 203,000 people applied for jobless benefits last week, the lowest level since December 1969.

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