Productivity Up in Fourth Quarter

February 3, 2005 ( - The fourth quarter of 2004 brought with it a positive change of 2.5% in the productivity in the business sector, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On the year, the change was 4%, according to a report from the bureau. For the nonfarm business sector, the fourth quarter figure was much lower – 0.8% – but the annual change was actually higher, at 4.1%.

In the manufacturing sector, the fourth quarter increase in productivity was 5.6%, with durable goods manufacturing productivity up 7.3% and nondurable goods up 3.7%. On the year, the changes to these three were 4.9%, 6.1% and 3.9%, respectively.

Hourly compensation in the business sector grew by 4.2% in the fourth quarter, which followed a 3.8% increase in the third quarter. The real hourly compensation change, which takes into account alteration in consumer prices, was up 0.8% on the quarter. Compensation for the nonfarm business sector rose 3.1% in the fourth quarter, while adjusted wages were up 0.3%. In manufacturing, average hourly wages were up 6%. Adjusted, the increase was still 2.5%.

Unit labor costs for the business sector were up 1.7% in the fourth quarter, 2.3% for the nonfarm business sector and 0.4% for manufacturing. Unit labor costs relate hourly compensation to output.