January 12, 2009

YOU'RE NOT GOING TO GET THROUGH THE FAT TO THE MUSCLE WITH UNEMPLOYMENT IN SINGLE DIGITS:

Jobs Data’s Possible Silver Lining: Productivity (WSJ: Real Time Economics, 1/12/09)

The hours worked contraction might have been greater than the contraction in overall economic output for the quarter, which will be reported later this month. In other words, businesses might have been able to squeeze more out of the workers they kept on staff, increasing business productivity, even though the economy was going through its most severe contraction in decades.

The government’s estimate of productivity growth — a measure of the nation’s output per hour worked by the work force — comes out in early February. Most economists focus on productivity growth among non-farm businesses — excluding agriculture, government and certain parts of housing. Macroeconomic Advisers estimates that output in the nonfarm business sector contracted at an 8.25% rate for the quarter, while hours worked during the quarter contracted at an 8.6% annual rate.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 12, 2009 9:32 PM
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