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Productivity Hit a Nadir Under Obama

Feb. 27, 2017 (EIRNS)—Stagnating productivity in the U.S. economy reached its worst low in many decades in the last year of Barack Obama’s too-long stay in the White House. The Labor Department announced Feb. 24 that labor productivity, which averaged just under 0.4% annual growth over the past decade, grew just 0.2% in 2016. Three-plus percent annual growth was routine in better times, during most of the 20th Century.

Wage increases usually follow along with increases in productivity. In the U.S. economy, the only sectors which have produced real hourly wage gains in the past two years (December 2014 to January 2017) are manufacturing, construction, and wholesale trade. And those real gains were still very small, 0.2% in manufacturing, 0.1% in construction and wholesale trade.