The hike in productivity – the amount an employee produces for every hour on the job – was a healthy increase from the 2.5% pace recorded during the last quarter of 2003. The reading also marked the best showing for the indicator since the third quarter of 2003.
Companies’ unit labor costs increased at a rate of 0.5% in the first quarter, after remaining flat at the end of 2003. Also up were workers’ hours, rising at a 1.3% rate in the first quarter. Last quarter, workers’ hours grew at a 1.6% rate.