Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased at a 9.5 percent annual rate during the third quarter of 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Rapid productivity growth is, ceteris paribus, a good thing. It implies that the economy could be expanding very rapidly, raising living standards for all. What’s happening, however, is that productivity is growing considerably faster than GDP. That’s great for profits, but implies an extended period of very bad labor market conditions—terrible for the unemployed, and generally lousy for wage-earners.