The productivity of U.S. workers grew in the second quarter at the fastest pace in almost six years as employers squeezed more out of remaining staff to bolster profits.
Productivity, a measure of how much an employee produces for each hour worked, rose at an annual 6.4 percent pace, more than forecast, after a 0.3 percent gain the prior three months, Labor Department data showed today in Washington. Labor costs fell by the most in eight years.
Ironically enough, this might be bad news for the overall jobs picture. Throughout the end of 2002 and the early part of 2003, productivity was up tremendously as well. It contributed to stunting job growth because employers could afford to go with far less employees because those employees were so productive. We'll see how this one plays out.
Markets in the Far East were mostly up yesterday. The Hang Seng in China was up .69%, the NIKKEI in Japan was up .58%, and the Straits Time Index in Singapore was up 1.88%. Meanwhile, in Europe it was mostly the other way. The FTSE in London was down .62%, the DAX in Germany was down 1.14%, and the Spanish Index was up .09%.
Bonds are continuing a trend of lower rates. Yesterday the Ten Year U.S. Treasury is now at 3.74% after losing nearly ten basis points yesterday. Crude oil is up slightly this morning after losing a bit of steam yesterday. That's currently trading at $70.60 per barrel.
Finally, the Dollar is mixed today. It's up by .04% against the Euro, up by .08% against the British Pound and down by .8% against the Japanese Yen.