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Americans aren’t getting that much more productive

A worker helps to assemble a helicopter in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke
Harder, better, faster, stronger?
By Melvin Backman
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

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%.

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