Economic Report: U.S. productivity slumps in first quarter

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U.S. firms and their workers were less productive in the first quarter.

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) —The productivity of American firms and their employees fell in the first quarter at the fastest rate in a year, reflecting a cutback in the amount of goods and services made available to customers.

U.S. productivity — the key to a higher standard of living — declined at a 0.6% annual pace in the first three months of 2017, the government said Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast no change.

Productivity has been weak since an economic recovery began almost eight years ago, increasing at 1.2% annual clip since 2007.

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