US worker productivity grew at modest 1.9 per cent rate in third quarter as labour costs dipped

WASHINGTON – U.S. worker productivity grew at the same modest rate this summer as in spring, a sign that companies may be nearing the limits on how much output they can get from their employees.

The Labor Department says productivity increased at a modest 1.9 per cent annual rate from July through September, matching the April-June quarter rate. Labor costs fell at a 0.1 per cent rate after having risen at a 1.7 per cent rate in the second quarter.

Productivity is the amount of output per hour of work. Weaker productivity can be a hopeful sign for job creation. It often means companies can’t squeeze much more output from their staffs and must hire to meet demand.