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U.S. productivity fell in Q4, the first time since early 2016

Worker
Photo: Travis Dove / Bloomberg via Getty Images

U.S. worker productivity fell in the fourth quarter of 2017, the first drop since early 2016, reports CNBC. The Labor Department said Thursday that the hourly output per worker fell at a 0.1% annualized rate in Q4, missing the estimated 1.0% gain that economists at Reuters had forecast.

Why it matters: The drop, which economists blamed on a shortage of workers, signals that the Trump administration's goal of growing the economy at a sustained 3% rate might be harder than previously thought.

By the numbers:

  • U.S. worker productivity in Q4 2017: Fell at 0.1% annualized rate vs. 1.0% estimate. Productivity increased at a rate of 1.1% in Q4 of 2016.
  • U.S. worker productivity in Q3 2017: Rose at a pace of 2.7% instead of the previously reported 3% rate.
  • Overall productivity in 2017 increased 1.2%, the strongest performance since 2015, according to CNBC.