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Growth Slows in U.S Labor Productivity

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Labor productivity growth in the U.S. has dropped to 1.4%, the lowest level “in more than a decade,” according to a report released January 23 by the Conference Board in New York. Has the contribution to productivity of information and communication technology, “a key driver of global productivity growth” for the last decade, “peaked?” asks the Conference Board’s director of international economic research, Dr. Bart van Ark. Growth in labor productivity in the U.S decelerated from 2.5% IN 2004 to 1.8% in 2005 to this low of 1.4%

The report notes that there may be another wave of labor productivity growth that comes after the pause, driven by “a new generation of business applications,” says the executive VP and chief economist at the Conference Board, Gail Fosler.

What the conference board has called a “lull” in the U.S. labor productivity has affected the European Union too, resulting in a gain of 1.5% for 2006. Labor productivity growth seems more robust in Japan, with a gain of 2.5% and even better in India, at 7%, and China, with very strong 9% to 10%.

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