(CN) – Worker productivity grew at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the third quarter, a marked decline from the previous three months, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, has been weak throughout the current recovery. Rising productivity in the long run is the key to a higher standard of living.
Productivity during the second quarter saw a 3 percent rate of gain, the best showing in three years.
Meanwhile the nation’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in 45 years. Initial claims for unemployment benefits dropped 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 214,000 for the week ended October 27, the government said.
That’s the lowest level since November 1969.
Labor costs rose at a 1.2 percent rate after having fallen at a 1 percent rate in the second quarter.
Businesses increased the amount of goods and services they produced, known as output, by 4.1 percent in the three months during the third quarter.
The hours workers spent on the job rose by a smaller 1.8 percent, the Labor Department said.