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A worker helps to assemble a helicopter in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke
Harder, better, faster, stronger?

Americans aren’t getting that much more productive

By Melvin Backman

Working hard or hardly working?

Productivity numbers are in from the Labor Department, and they’re ho-hum (1.3% annualized growth in the second quarter). The numbers have been pretty low and choppy for the past 4+ years, with a large number of revisions thrown in there.

Despite the wondrous age of technological innovation we’re experiencing, we aren’t getting the same boost from tech that we used to. Take a step back, and productivity growth is way down from the dot-com boom or the post-recession years that sapped wage growth.

Capital Economics suggested in a note to clients that if productivity remains this so-so, Americans might need to adjust their expectations of 3% GDP growth (paywall), let alone 4%.