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November 05, 2004

Productivity Rises, Jobless Claims Plummet

Election over, now it's just about getting this country working at 100% again:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The productivity of America's workers grew at a 1.9 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the smallest gain since late 2002, the government reported Thursday.

The increase in productivity -- the amount an employee produces for every hour of work -- followed a brisk 3.9 percent pace registered in the second quarter, the Labor Department said. The figure for the July-to-September period was better than the 1.7 percent growth rate some economists were forecasting.

Analysts have been expecting productivity growth to slow somewhat based on the hope that businesses would seek to hire workers to help meet customer demand, rather than rely largely on greater efficiencies from fewer or existing workers to do that.

"There are some indications that job growth is going to continue and could pick up a bit of speed in the fourth quarter," said Sherry Cooper, chief economist at BMO Nesbitt Burns.

....

Initial claims for unemployment benefits plunged last week by a seasonally adjusted 19,000 to 332,000, the Labor Department said in a second report. A portion of the decline reflected fewer hurricane-related claims in Florida, a department analyst said. Even so, the figures -- better than economists expected -- offered hope that the recovery in the labor market may be gaining traction.

Incidentally, big jobs report tomorrow; consensus estimate is for 175,000 jobs created in October, up from September's lackluster 96,000.

Gene Frenkel's Farewell Tour


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posted by Ace at 12:28 AM

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