With productivity numbers coming in like this, and growth so uninspiring, it is hard to see the jobs situation improving any.
U.S. worker productivity rose last year at the fastest clip since 1950 as wary businesses extracted more from their workforces -- a trend that has lingered as lines for jobless benefits lengthened last week, government reports showed on Thursday. The Labor Department (news - web sites) said the hourly output of workers outside the farm sector rose by 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter, a big improvement from the 0.2 percent fall previously reported. The revised gain was bigger than economists were expecting and was taken as somewhat positive news. "With productivity gains like these, it's not surprising that hiring was so weak," said Joel Naroff, of Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pa. For the year, nonfarm productivity advanced by 4.8 percent, the biggest annual gain since 1950, the Department said. Exacerbated by severe winter weather, weakness in the labor market lingered with the number of Americans signing up last week for new jobless aid hitting its highest level since December.
Source: Yahoo News