WASHINGTON — U.S. nonfarm productivity increased at a 3.6% annual rate in the first quarter ended March 31, exceeding economists’ estimates, the Labor Department reported yesterday.
Unit labor costs fell 1.6%, the third straight quarterly decline.
Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expected productivity to increase 2.5% and for unit labor costs to decline 0.7%, according to the median estimate.
Productivity in the fourth quarter of 2009 was revised lower to a 6.3% rise from the 6.9% increase reported in the last release. Unit labor costs in the fourth quarter were revised to a 5.6% drop from the most recent estimate of a 5.9% decline.