U.S. Productivity Rose at 0.9% Rate in Second Quarter

U.S. Productivity Rose at 0.9% Rate in Second Quarter
Nonfarm business-sector productivity increased at a 0.9% seasonally adjusted annual rate
By Ben Leubsdorf
Aug. 9, 2017

U.S. worker productivity picked up modestly in the second quarter but showed little sign of breaking out of the sluggish trend that has prevailed for more than a decade, holding back economic growth and living standards.

Rapid productivity gains, as seen during the information technology-fueled boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s, can boost household incomes, economic growth and government tax receipts.

Glenn Hubbard, dean of Columbia Business School and a former top White House economist under President George W. Bush … said the government can help to boost productivity growth by overhauling business taxes, rolling back regulations and supporting basic research. Such steps could increase business investment and the know-how that helps to fuel growth.

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said “government policy works best when it can address a need that the private sector neglects, including investment in basic research, infrastructure, early childhood education, schooling and public health.”

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