Productivity Surges

The government raised its estimate of third-quarter output to 9.4%
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Very, very busy. That's what the latest productivity figures say about American workers.

The government on Wednesday said productivity in the third quarter was up a revised 9.4% on an annualized basis from its preliminary estimate of 8.1%. It's the best rate in two decades and more than the consensus 9.2% forecast of economists.

In particular, output in the manufacturing sector was revised higher to 9%. In the durable goods sector, output was up a stunning 14.8%.

On the downside, hourly compensation rose 2.3% during the third quarter, down from a 4.1% increase in the second quarter.

Higher productivity makes American companies more competitive and keeps a lid on inflation, but it also tends to depress job creation as employers keep payrolls lean.