In the second quarter, the productivity of workers in the US noticeably picked up. This helped slow down the increase of labor costs and supported the bettering situation concerning inflation. Recent economic indicators are showing encouraging signs for the US economy. As per the Labor Department, nonfarm productivity – which calculates the output per worker every hour – went up at an annual rate of 3.7% in the last quarter.
- In Q1, the data was adjusted to reflect a fall in productivity by a 1.2% rate rather than 2.1% as was initially reported.
- Earlier, experts had predicted that productivity would go up by 2.0%.
- Before striking a growth rate of 1.3% from a year ago, productivity had been decreasing for five consecutive quarters.
Despite the recent improvement, productivity remains below the long-term historical average rate since 1947 of 2.1%. The sluggish productivity is partly a result of worker hoarding, where employers are retaining workers after facing difficulties in hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unit labor costs rose at a 1.6% rate in the second quarter, reflecting a moderation from previous quarters, signaling positive trends in controlling inflation.
Unemployment Benefits and Labor Market Resilience
Title: Job Market Strengthens Despite Higher Interest Rates The job market kept getting better even though the Federal Reserve raised interest rates. A few more Americans than normal – 6,000 to be exact – applied for unemployment help. This made the total 227,000 for the week that ended on July 29, which was adjusted based on the season. Economists had thought this would happen and noted it’s on the low side for this year.
- Unadjusted claims dropped from 8,485 to 205,012 last week, with declines noted in states like California and Ohio.
- Continuing claims, a proxy for hiring, increased from 21,000 to 1.700 million, remaining low by historical standards.
Labor shortages remain a challenge, especially for service businesses. Some companies are facing issues in recruiting fast enough, while others are losing employees to firms that offer higher compensation. Despite these obstacles, the overall labor market remains strong, with low layoffs and an unemployment rate forecast to remain unchanged at 3.6% in July.
Current changes in the job market are giving hope that the U.S. economy might not hit a downturn. Most financial experts think that the central bank may not hike rates this time around, showing trust in the existing economic state.
- In June, there were 1.6 job vacancies for each person without a job.
- Non-agricultural jobs are predicted to grow by 200,000 jobs in July.
- The number of job cuts went down by 42% from June, as per a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
“The improving trend in productivity along with slowing nominal wage growth points to inflationary pressures from the labor market starting to subside,” said Sarah House, a senior economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, North Carolina. This sentiment is shared by other experts like Bill Adams, chief economist at Comerica Bank in Dallas, who stated that the “recession risk is receding.”
The merged details from the second three months show a big bounce back in how much workers are getting done and a tough job market, with small rises in requests for unemployment help. The job market has mostly held up against the higher rates set by the Federal Reserve, adding to a positive look at the economy. Keeping a close eye on things like how much labor costs, prices going up, and other signs of how the economy is doing will be very important in setting money rules for the future and figuring out how the economy is recovering after COVID-19 times.