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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.