WASHINGTON (AP) -- Worker productivity, a key measure of living standards, rose in the second quarter as businesses, coping with the yearlong economic slowdown, laid off workers and slashed hours.
Productivity -- the amount of output per hour of work -- rose at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the April-June quarter, according to revised figures released Wednesday by the Labor Department.
The new estimate is slower than the 2.5 percent growth rate the department reported a month ago, but largely matched many analysts' expectations. It was the best showing since productivity rose at a rate of 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.
On Wall Street, stocks fell. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 32 points and the Nasdaq was off 14 in the first hour of trading.
Productivity rose in the second quarter as businesses cut workers' hours at a 2.6 percent rate, the biggest drop since the first quarter of 1991. Output fell at a rate of 0.5 percent, the first decline since the first quarter of 1993 when the country was emerging out of its last recession.
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