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Q1 Productivity Misses; Plunges By Most In 6 Years

Tyler Durden's picture




 

Nonfarm productivity in the frost-bitten US in Q1 plunged at its fastest pace since Q1 2008. The 3.2% drop is considerably bigger than the 3% expected but was accompanied (oddly) by a rise in employee hours (so despite the catastrophic weather, everyone was going to work and working more) but producing less. Unit labor costs soared 5.7% - the most since Q4 2012.

 

 

From the report:

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity decreased at a 3.2 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, as hours increased 2.2 percent and output decreased 1.1 percent. (All quarterly percent changes in this release are seasonally adjusted annual rates.) The decrease in productivity was the largest since the first quarter of 2008 (-3.9 percent). From the first quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2014, productivity increased 1.0 percent as output and hours worked rose 2.8 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively. (See chart 1 and table A.)

 

Labor productivity, or output per hour, is calculated by dividing an index of real output by an index of hours worked of all persons, including employees, proprietors, and unpaid family workers. The measures released today are based on more recent source data than were available for the preliminary report. 

 

In the first quarter of 2014, nonfarm business productivity fell 3.2 percent, a greater decline than was reported in the preliminary estimate. The revised figure reflects a 1.4 percentage point downward revision to output and a 0.2 percentage point upward revision to hours. Unit labor costs were revised up due to the downward revision to productivity, and grew 5.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014. In the manufacturing sector, productivity growth in the first quarter was revised up to 3.8 percent, due to an upward revision to output and a downward revision to hours worked. Unit labor costs declined 0.4 percent, rather than increasing 0.1 percent as previously reported. 

And notably: 1.8% increase in hours worked in a quarter in which, supposedly, nobody could get to work. Huh???


 

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Wed, 06/04/2014 - 08:53 | 4822673 papaswamp
papaswamp's picture

Inflation bitchez! Everywhere except wages....

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 08:55 | 4822682 Pool Shark
Pool Shark's picture

 

 

Actually, Unit Labor costs went UP:

http://www.forexfactory.com/#graph=52463

So much for Corporate Profits...

 

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:14 | 4822691 papaswamp
papaswamp's picture

Yes...inflation would be rising costs... Wages only rose 0.4% ( inflation adjusted). I suspect this is the impact of increased healthcare costs.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:08 | 4822727 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Labor costs going up doesn't necessarily translate into wages.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:13 | 4822748 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

Especially if it went to purchase less health insurance at an increased price.  See Obamacare.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:25 | 4822793 nuclearsquid
nuclearsquid's picture

The debt slaves must be staging a work slowdown.  'Puttin on ole massa.'

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:28 | 4822810 Mitch Comestein
Mitch Comestein's picture

It is high school consumer economics only backwards.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 10:51 | 4823168 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

We need MOAR robots and MOAR H1B Visa coders to write MOAR job killing, wage deflating, software for automation.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:45 | 4822899 venturen
venturen's picture

We don't need productivity...we have bankers, lobbyists and accountants!

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 08:57 | 4822674 Pool Shark
Pool Shark's picture

 

 

Biggest drop on record in the Revised Number:

http://www.forexfactory.com/#graph=52461

 

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:38 | 4822862 SokPOTUS
SokPOTUS's picture

Oh please. The first, (and much higher) revision will be out later this morning, and the second (right-sized for palatable algo consumption) revision will be out this afternoon.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 08:57 | 4822689 101 years and c...
101 years and counting's picture

who cares?  ECB will fix EVERYTHING tomorrow. so, buy the fucking depression.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:03 | 4822716 forwardho
forwardho's picture

btfd.

My thats a scary take on an old acronym.

The reality is so much worse.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 10:09 | 4823034 TheRideNeverEnds
TheRideNeverEnds's picture

indeed; its free money

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 08:58 | 4822694 PlusTic
PlusTic's picture

this batch of data is soooo bad it's hilarious to consider the current consensus is so far removed...the markets, as usual, don't give a FUKK about reality...

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 08:59 | 4822702 Jlasoon
Jlasoon's picture

The last 30min have been quite entertaining if you ask me. I look forward to reading all the excuses later. 

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:02 | 4822696 HUGE_Gamma
HUGE_Gamma's picture

doesnt matter. beat/miss its all bullish

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 10:54 | 4823175 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

When there is only one chute and one direction the cattle will go....including the bulls.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 08:59 | 4822698 youngman
youngman's picture

Lots of strange numbers out today

 

 

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:42 | 4822871 intric8
intric8's picture

Strange means fanegaling

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:08 | 4822724 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

And so we believe this particular (manipulated) data because it confirms our biasis? Which is it folks? Is all economic data manipulated or not?

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:14 | 4822742 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

There you go throwing logic into the mix again. What have I told you about that? You'll scramble some people's noodles, and you don't want that on your conscience do you? If this was the number they published just thing how horrible the real number is. Man we must be FUBARed.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:15 | 4822760 PlusTic
PlusTic's picture

it's all manipulated, so think of how bad the real data actually was!

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:19 | 4822771 g'kar
g'kar's picture

That was my thinking too.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:23 | 4822780 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Yeah, they don't manipulate government numbers to make it look WORSE than it actually is.  So figure the truth is either this number or something worse than this number.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:21 | 4822777 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

+1 but in my mind it goes like this. they want to fudge the gdp number lower. therefore (as a last resort) they will inject a little truthiness while blaming the working man for the decline. don't bend your noodle trying to follow a zher's warped logic. there is no spoon...

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:35 | 4822847 papaswamp
papaswamp's picture

Questions are which way was it manipulated and why ( if at all)? I look at most of the data as relatively unmanipulated ( not seasonally adjusted). Seasonal adjusted data has the problem of not being able to spot a trend until it is already set in motion. When all of the data is taken in context of time, the 'recovery' is horrible. Considering the +$20T thrown at the economy ( not including rise in govt and corporate debt) we are still well into the recession.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:08 | 4822726 BringOnTheAsteroid
BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

Does any of this shit actually matter anymore, any of it ?

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:19 | 4822759 what's that smell
what's that smell's picture

yes, it matters....zhedge must attract moar eyeballs.

like muppets to the slaughterhause.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:38 | 4822865 Lucifer618
Lucifer618's picture

Amen!

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:09 | 4822729 insidious
insidious's picture

Quick, someone apply the "correct" correction factor to the numbers, re-release the data with some "better than expected numbers", apologize for the confusion (and promise to investigate why last month's correction factors were applied to the data), hit the print button and buy something....

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:16 | 4822763 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

I'm thinking that the Big O, seeing what a failure his VA scandal was, tried to fix it with the Swap but that has turned into scandal, has now decided to release the some economic numbers, slightly closer to reality than what has been allowed to be released, and then will announce that he needs to have a laser like focus on getting the economy back running again.  And any questions on any thing other than the economy are hurting working class families so how dare any questions be asked.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:31 | 4822824 Eyeroller
Eyeroller's picture

And any questions on any thing other than the economy are RACIST so how dare any questions be asked.

 

There.  Fixed it.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:19 | 4822767 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

the ceos must "get to work", those layoffs aren't going to announce themselves and bonuses don't grow on trees ya know.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:18 | 4822768 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

Also for the flaks out there that say that ISM and ADP are private organizations and the government doesn't control them.  Ratings agencies are also private organizations but every time they downgrade a government, their offices get raided by said government.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:20 | 4822770 Chuck Knoblauch
Chuck Knoblauch's picture

How long before all economic data becomes classified information?

I suggest that real economic data already has been classified.

General public is fed disinformation.

I also suggest the real data is worse than you think.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:20 | 4822776 orangegeek
orangegeek's picture

a small child could have forecast this.

 

but let's wait for the do-over to be sure.

 

the WH hasn't approve this spreadsheet yet.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:25 | 4822794 oklaboy
oklaboy's picture

come on folks, it was Obamcare conractors putting in those applications.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:44 | 4822901 Space Animatoltipap
Space Animatoltipap's picture

We're in a new Vietnam domestically.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:47 | 4822916 ejmoosa
ejmoosa's picture

So what is gonna be the Fed's strategy when all this bad news translates into lower tax receipts and accelerating debt?  

And this time around, the rest of the world really do not want to be holding bags of dollars?

THis gig is just about up.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 10:05 | 4822998 Chuck Knoblauch
Chuck Knoblauch's picture

They can rapid fire distraction after distraction.

But at the end of the day, people want to know what the plan is.

When the people realize there is no plan, panic will soak into the markets.

Like a sponge, the markets will absorb all the fear at once and sink!

tick, tock, tick, tock ......

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:49 | 4822926 Jason T
Jason T's picture

with our pitifully low gross capital formation, we can only expect that productivity is going to go no where and could well drop

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:51 | 4822941 Marc To Market
Marc To Market's picture

Tylers make a straw man and blows it down.  Wow.  Impressive.  Who said "And notably: 1.8% increase in hours worked in a quarter in which, supposedly, nobody could get to work." Huh? The government data shows 570k net new nonfarm payroll jobs were created in Q1.  And the average work week of 34.4  hours was unchanged from Q4 (3-month average)  

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:51 | 4822942 tommylicious
tommylicious's picture

big margin pressure.  this, plus recent ISM prices paid.  

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 10:09 | 4823031 Chuck Knoblauch
Chuck Knoblauch's picture

There is no plan to recovery.

It was a lie since 2008.

The believers are all screwed.

Run for your lives!!!!!!!!!!!

My words are prophetic.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 10:30 | 4823103 Raging Debate
Raging Debate's picture

I imagine productivity is declining as wages have not kept up with inflation. Hard to be motivated working for $10-$12 an hour with no bennies when it barely covers the basics for a subsistence living. I notice this a lot at retail stores especially, bad service and slow motion moving employees. At that pay I wouldn't move fast or give a damn either.

On the other hand I see a grocery company like Publix that pays a living wage and gives bennies. Prices are higher than Wal Mart but no lines, place is clean and service is great. Companies need to take a cue from Henry Ford on the importance of a living wage. Government needs to stop subsidizing companies like Wal Mart that don't pay a living wage and instruct employees how to get food stamps.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 10:31 | 4823104 Never One Roach
Never One Roach's picture

"Ahoy, Captain, Stagflationary Shitstorm ahead!"

 

Maybe worse, a Deflationary Disaster.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 13:31 | 4823741 tommylicious
tommylicious's picture

= inflationary margin pressures without top line pricing power.  answer:  rally em!

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