FILE - In this May 22, 2019, file photo window washers work on Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, Mass. On Thursday, June 6, the Labor Department issues revised data on productivity in the first quarter. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

US productivity grew at solid 3.4% rate in first quarter

June 06, 2019 - 7:37 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. productivity grew at a strong 3.4% rate in the January-March quarter, the best showing in more than four years. It is an encouraging sign that productivity may finally be improving after a long stretch of weakness.

The first quarter gain was more than double the 1.3% increase in the fourth quarter, although it was slightly lower than an initial estimate of 3.6% made a month ago. Labor costs fell during the first quarter, declining by 1.6% following a 0.4% drop in the fourth quarter.

Productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, is a key factor determining an economy's growth potential. If the current rebound continues, it would provide support for President Donald Trump's efforts to achieve sustained 3% growth rates.

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