US labor productivity decreased by 5.2% in 3Q21 with output increasing 1.8% and hours worked increasing 7.4%, according to the latest US Bureau of Labor Statistics Data.
At the same time unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector increased at an annual rate of 9.6% in 3Q21, driven by a 3.9% increase in hourly compensation and the 5.2% decrease in labor productivity, as the economy continued its recovery from the height of the pandemic.
“In the third quarter of 2021, both output and hours worked increased for the fifth consecutive quarter following historic declines in those measures in the second quarter of 2020,” notes the release. “The output index is now 1.8 percent above the level seen in the fourth quarter of 2019, the last quarter not affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the hours worked index remains 1.0 percent below its fourth quarter 2019 level.”
Unit labor costs were up particularly sharply in the business sector with a rise of 9.9%.
Manufacturing sector output fully recovered from the pandemic reaching levels 1% above its level in 4Q19 while hours worked remained 3.2% below 4Q19 levels.