U.S. Labor Costs Unexpectedly Fell in Third Quarter

WASHINGTON – U.S. productivity surged in the third quarter while labor costs fell further, another sign of subdued inflation pressures despite a sturdy economy.

Productivity rose at a 3% annual rate in the third quarter, the Labor Department said Wednesday, the biggest jump in three years. The estimate, the agency’s second, reaffirmed its initial take on productivity released last month.

But the agency released a big downward revision to unit labor costs, or the ratio of workers’ compensation to their productivity. Costs fell at a 0.2 annual rate in the third quarter; the agency had previously estimated costs rose at a 0.5% rate.

Economists polled by…

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