WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. workers' productivity jumped 3 percent in the third quarter, the strongest gain in three years, while labor costs remained moderate.
The Labor Department says the increase in productivity in the July-September quarter was double the 1.5 percent gain in the second quarter. Unit labor costs rose a modest 0.5 percent in the third quarter, up only slightly from a 0.3 percent gain in the second quarter.
The strong upturn in productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, is not expected to last. But economists are hopeful that future gains will be stronger than the anemic performance of recent years. Economists say increasing productivity is the biggest challenge facing the economy currently and without an improvement the Trump administration's goal of boosting economic growth will not be realized.