The EU

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Productivity Up

From DOL:
Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased at a 2.8 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, with output rising 4.0 percent and hours rising 1.1 percent.
Up is good.

Regards  —  Cliff

2 comments:

kad barma said...

Unfortunately, this statistic is often extremely misleading, and up doesn't always mean up. For example, last year, (which you can see clearly on Chart 1) we had extremely large productivity gains. However, the method by which these are calculated means that if companies are merely selling out of existing inventory, they count as productivity gains, even though nobody is actually producing anything at all. Which is exactly what happened last year. (Let me know if I should dig out the citations for that--but it's dramatic).

It's always necessary to read the actual data behind the productivity report to determine which elements of the calculation actually changed. In this case, we find that unit labor costs (i.e. wages) have dropped at a rate not seen since 1988. Sadly, the way "productivity" is measured, if you're being paid less to produce the same thing, the business gets credit for being more productive.

Always lies, damn lies, and statistics, and double the damnation if they're produced by a government.

ncrossland said...

A strong hat tip to Kad. He nailed it. In this day and age....and administration (not that it is terribly different than the last....different flavor only).....if it is uttered by the government...it bears careful examination as it is always.....ALWAYS skewed to project or protect a narrow political agenda.

In this case...the REAL message is.....sleep well America...everything is good...the "numbers are going up".....sleep well...we have it all under control....nothing to see here...move on.....