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U.S. worker productivity falls in second quarter, causing annual decline

American workers' productivity slipped in the April-June quarter, feeding into a 12-month decline in how much people are producing for each hour worked.

Productivity fell at an annual rate of 0.5% in the second quarter after a 0.6% drop during the first three months of the year, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Over the last 12 months, productivity has dropped 0.4%, as labor costs and the hours worked are rising faster than the output of workers' goods and services. Unit labor costs rose 2% in the second quarter, after decreasing 0.2% in the first quarter.

Productivity has been weak for the last five years, a thorny problem because productivity growth is the key factor...

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