Worker productivity declines for first time since 2015

Worker productivity declines for first time since 2015
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Worker productivity declined last quarter for the fist time since 2015 as economic growth slows, according to data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Productivity declined 0.3 percent from July through September, the first such contraction since the last three months of 2015. Overall, though, productivity was up 1.4 percent for the past year.

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Productivity is frequently tied to wages, so a drop or stagnation is typically unwelcome news for workers.

The quarterly drop comes as economic growth has scaled back, even though job gains remain healthy and earlier fears of a potential recession have started to recede.

U.S. employers added 128,000 jobs to payrolls in October, exceeding expectations, while growth in the third quarter came in at 1.9 percent, significantly below the 3 percent target set by President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE from his 2016 campaign.

The productivity data released Wednesday showed that efficiency in the manufacturing sector dropped 0.1 percent in the last quarter, though output was up 1.1 percent.

A slowdown in the manufacturing sector could prove problematic for the White House, which is depending on a strong economy to help propel President Trump to a second term. In 2016, Trump's promise to revive manufacturing helped his standing in several Midwest states that were key to his Election Day victory.