The productivity of U.S. workers grew at a 1.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the slowest pace in nearly two years, the government reported Tuesday. Efficiency gains were slightly weaker than the 1.9 percent growth rate first estimated for the July-to-September quarter.
But the slowing down on this important economic indicator the amount an employee produces for every hour of work did raise hope that employers may start to boost hiring to meet customer demand.
The new 1.8 percent figure, based on more complete data, marked a slowing from the 3.9 percent productivity pace registered in the second quarter. Some analysts were expecting productivity to rise slightly to a 2 percent growth rate for the third quarter. Still, the long-term productivity trend remains healthy, economists say. For the year ending in September, productivity increased by a solid 3.1 percent.