Americans are working and producing more at less cost, according to a U.S. Department of Labor report [link opens in PDF] released today. Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased at a seasonally adjusted quarter-over-quarter 2.9% annual rate for the third quarter of 2012, while unit labor costs dropped 1.9%.
Labor productivity is a measure of output and hours worked, which increased 4.2% and 1.3%, respectively. Compared to Q3 2011, productivity increased 1.7%, with output and hours worked measuring gains of 3.5% and 1.8%, respectively. Overall productivity results squeaked in ahead of analysts' 2.8% expected rise.
While labor costs dropped, hourly compensation rose 0.9% and unit labor costs for the last four quarters remained nearly flat with a 0.1% rise . Analysts had expected a 0.9% drop in unit labor costs for Q3 2012.
Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.