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U.S. Worker Productivity Rises, Rate Lower Than Forecast

The productivity of workers in the United States grew at an annualized rate of 2.2 percent during the second quarter of 2008, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Labor. The figure is down from a 2.6 percent rate in the first quarter. The productivity rate measures the amount an employee produces for every hour on the job, with gains reflecting output increases and small declines in hours worked. Economic analysts had predicted that the rate would rise to an average of 2.7 percent. The Labor Department's report says that productivity in the manufacturing sector - which represents approximately 12 percent of non-farm business sector employment - decreased 1.4 percent, as both output and work hours decreased, and was concentrated in the durable goods subsector.

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