US: Labor cost indicators details

According to the data announced today; Non-farm labor productivity decreased by 5.2% in 3Q21, production increased by 1.8%, while hours worked increased by 7.4%.

According to the data announced today; Non-farm labor productivity decreased by 5.2% in 3Q21, production increased by 1.8%, while hours worked increased by 7.4%. This is the largest quarterly decline in productivity since the data began to be measured in 1960. From 3Q20 to 3Q21, non-farm labor productivity decreased by 0.6%. In this criterion, it is the largest periodic decrease since 1993.

 

Unit labor costs in the non-farm business sector rose 9.6% in 3Q21. An increase of 3.9% is measured in the hourly wage. Unit labor costs have increased by 6.3% in the last four quarters. Unit labor costs are calculated as the ratio of hourly wage to labor productivity. Increases in hourly wages tend to increase unit labor costs, while increases in productivity tend to lower them.

 

Therefore, at this stage, there is a qualitative gap from the reversal between productivity and costs to the quality of resource allocation, and thus to quality growth. On the other hand, constantly increasing labor costs are also reflected in the prices of goods and services sold, thus feeding inflation. Among the dynamics that the Fed should monitor are the two-sided effects of inflation, but if we include the externality of price factors, there will be movements in the direction of rapid wage increases as inflation increases. To offset this, demand-restrictive tightening is one measure, but it only handles the demand side of inflation. Since inflation is heavily influenced by external prices, the alleviation in that criterion is primarily due to normalization of supply.

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