US Worker Productivity Disappoints, Unit Labor Costs Revised Lower

While both US Productivity and Unit Labor Costs picked up from Q4's data, both key economic data points disappointed expectations with productivity up 0.7% (+0.9% exp) and labor costs up 2.7% (+3.0% exp).

Notably the +2.5% Q4 unit labor cost rise was revised notably lower to +2.1% QoQ.

Non-Durable Manufacturing Worker Productivity declined YoY for the 3rd quarter in a row...

Headline real compensation dropped 0.1% QoQ - the second QoQ decline in a row.

Under the hood we note that real compensation for the manufacturing sector dropped 0.1% YoY and real compensation for non-durables dropped 1.5% YoY.


Endgame Napoleon Juggernaut x2 Thu, 05/03/2018 - 11:49 Permalink

How about other sectors? How can workers be productive when they leave work every day at 2:30, taking additional and lengthy periods of time off throughout the year for things like travel soccer, in addition to PTO and pregnancy leave? Even though a few non-family-friendly and churn-able workers help to keep numbers up while these parents, including the often family-friendly managers take a ton of excused time off, productivity is still lower when so many employees are above firing despite massive amounts of absenteeism due to their womb productivity and their cronyism. It has to be lower in areas like sales, which is a numbers game.

In reply to by Juggernaut x2

Endgame Napoleon gaoptimize Thu, 05/03/2018 - 11:58 Permalink

The largest group in the workforce is women in their childbearing years. This is the group most likely to have spousal income, rent-covering child support or access to monthly welfare that covers rent, groceries and other major bills, in addition to refundable EITC child tax credits up to $6,431, all of which make it easy for them to trade absenteeism lenience for the willingness to accept low pay and part-time hours. The welfare moms have to work part time. Any full-time job at any wage level puts them over the income limits for welfare. This is not a recipe for productivity, especially when you add on other groups with unearned income that covers major household bills, like Social Security recipients. When people are just working for supplemental income, they tend not to take jobs as seriously. They don’t have to. This is what employers want: a cheap and expendable workforce.

In reply to by gaoptimize

Endgame Napoleon shankster Thu, 05/03/2018 - 12:09 Permalink

We’re also pretending that it is still a nation, when it is really more like a global magnet for legal / illegal immigrants who provide cheap labor to the employers who have not offshored / outsourced production. Many of those legal / illegal immigrants likewise get paid by the US government for reproducing the minute they get here. There is no social pressure on them to assimilate anymore, nor to be the type of immigrants who want to become Americans, embracing the culture and value system here, not just coming here to reproduce, with a lot of benefits accruing to them to reward sex, reproduction and work that keeps them below the earned-income limits for welfare and the cut offs for refundable EITC child tax credits up to $6,431. We hear that all immigrants work harder; it is really not hard work in all cases. You cannot work hard on the books, while staying below the earned-income limits for the welfare programs. It IS working the system, however. Immigrants work the system in male-breadwinner households, while citizens do it in single-earner, female-headed households. 

In reply to by shankster

rsnoble Aireannpure Thu, 05/03/2018 - 09:46 Permalink

Go try sheet metal or ironworkers and when your back is broke in a week let me know what a cush job it was.  The old unions at the auto makers are what gave them a bad name.  Today's unions, in particular mfg outside of auto, are useless.

The other side of the coin is 12hr days, rotating shifts, 6 days per week killing yourself at Amazon.

It's pretty obvious there needs to be a happy medium but that goes against human nature never happen.

Spare me the education speech it's off topic.

Also, I worked shitmetal for 15years and never worked so hard in my life not to mention working in freezing weather and spending summers on rooftops. Yeah, it was $40hr when I quit but you'd be lucky to get a grand after taxes and have a ruint body to boot.

In reply to by Aireannpure

Grandad Grumps Thu, 05/03/2018 - 10:57 Permalink

If you want to productivity numbers to improve.
1. Import more finished goods
2. Mark them up and sell them in the US.
It is that easy. The more we produce here, the more productivity will decline.

ReturnOfDaMac Grandad Grumps Thu, 05/03/2018 - 13:00 Permalink

You hit the nail right on the head son.  All you will ever get with exceptionals is bitching, moaning, division.  Who is slightly better than who.  My tan is lighter is than yours.  Arguments over statues, jeebus and assorted unproductive stupid bullshit.  When you manufacture in Asia, you get unified, efficient, productive teamwork.  Yep, best to simply import, markup, sell, and profit.  Easy money, less headache.

In reply to by Grandad Grumps