Dollars and Jens
Friday, February 03, 2006
Unit Labor Costs
I've previously described the productivity/labor cost report as my favorite economic release, and noted that it tends not to move markets, in part because the information is largely known ahead of time. For example, at the beginning of this week the personal income report came out; one of the statistics readily calculated from data in its tables was that the amount paid for labor in the fourth quarter was more than that paid in the third quarter, with an annualized rate of increase between 4.6% and 4.7%. The GDP release last week indicated that production was increasing at a 1.1% rate. That labor costs per unit production, then, increased at a 3.5% rate, as reported Thursday morning, can't have been a surprise.
I don't know whether the means of measuring production and labor costs for the productivity report are the same as those for the other reports, or how close these numbers are mathematically required to hew to each other, but when it comes out to within rounding errors, it's hardly new information.