The Labor Department said Thursday, May 6, that productivity grew at an annual rate of 3.6 % in the first quarter, as labor costs dropped more than expected. That was better than the 2.6% increase economists had forecast.
Unit labor costs fell at a 1.6% rate, which was better than the consensus 0.7% decline.
The economy has been growing since the summer but companies have been reluctant to hire back workers. They are opting to push their smaller work forces to produce more, which has translated into a surge in productivity.