The increase, which last reached this level in 1983, was
chiefly due to businesses taking the scissors to payrolls
and squeezing more labor out of their workers. Over the
quarter, the total number of hours worked plummeted at a
rate of 1.9%, while output increased at a rate of 6.5%.
The increase in productivity, or the amount of output per hour of work, followed a strong 5.5% of increase in the previous quarter, the DoL said.
Unit labor costs fell 5.4% over the period, clocking the largest fall since a 6.5% decline in the second quarter of 1983. In manufacturing, unit labor costs declined by 6.5%, the biggest drop in over four decades.
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