WASHINGTON – U.S. productivity fell again in the first three months of the year, while labor costs rose at the fastest pace in more than a year.
The Labor Department says productivity declined at an annual rate of 1 percent in the January-March period, following a 1.7 percent decline in October-December quarter.
Labor costs rose at a rate of 4.1 percent in the first quarter, reflecting rising wages. That was the fastest increase since a 5.7 percent jump in the fourth quarter of 2014. Labor costs had been up 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter.
Productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, has been weak for a number of years. Economists worry that without improvement, it will depress American living standards.