US productivity increases 4.9% in 3rd quarter

U.S. productivity rose at a 4.9% rate in the third quarter, according to the Labor Department. PHOTO CREDIT: Keith Srakocic

WASHINGTON — U.S. productivity increased between July and September but at a slower pace than in the previous quarter.

Productivity advanced 4.9% in the third quarter, following an even larger 10.6% surge in the second quarter, the Labor Department reported today.

Labor costs fell by 8.9% in the third quarter after rising by 8.5% in the second quarter.

Productivity measures the amount of output per hour of work and is a key component in rising living standards.

Economists had expected a slowdown in the third quarter after the big second quarter gain.