US productivity up 3.1 percent in third quarter

The productivity of American workers rose in the July-September quarter at the fastest pace in two years while labor costs slowed after a big jump in the spring.

The Labor Department says productivity increased in the third quarter at a 3.1 percent rate. That followed three quarterly declines and was the best showing since a 4.2 percent increase in the third quarter of 2014. Labor costs edged up at a 0.7 percent rate in the third quarter following a much faster 6.2 percent jump in the second quarter. The productivity figure was unchanged from an initial estimate a month ago while the 0.7 percent rise in unit labor costs was slightly higher than an initial estimate of a 0.3 percent gain.

The rebound in productivity was expected to be temporary.