MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
Initial unemployment claims fall to 184,000, lowest level since Sept. 1969
In the week ending December 4, initial unemployment claims were 184,000, a decrease of 43,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since September 6, 1969 when it was 182,000. Continued claims during the week ending November 27 were 1,992,000, an increase of 38,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending November 20 was 1,947,598, a decrease of 350,527 from the previous week. There were 19,575,088 weekly claims filed for benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2020.
Labor productivity falls 5.2 percent in 3Q2021, largest decline since 1960 as bottlenecks continue
Nonfarm business sector labor productivity decreased 5.2 percent in the third quarter of 2021, as output increased 1.8 percent and hours worked increased 7.4 percent. This is the largest decline in quarterly productivity since the second quarter of 1960, when the measure decreased 6.1 percent. From the third quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2021, productivity decreased 0.6 percent as output rose 6.2 percent and hours worked rose 6.8 percent. This four-quarter rate is the largest decline since the fourth quarter of 1993, when the measure also declined 0.6 percent.
Labor costs rise 9.6 percent in 3Q2021 as wages rise but productivity declines
Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector increased at an annual rate of 9.6 percent in the third quarter of 2021, reflecting a 3.9-percent increase in hourly compensation and a 5.2-percent decrease in productivity. Unit labor costs increased 6.3 percent over the last four quarters, reflecting a 5.8-percent increase in compensation and a 0.6-percent decrease in productivity.