Has your boss been asking you to do more and more work because she just doesn't want to hire enough people? Help may be on the way.
The government reported Thursday that the productivity of U.S. workers fell in the first quarter for the first time in a year. That's because companies hired workers faster than they could increase the volume of goods and services they produced.
If that trend keeps up, it could bode well for job seekers.
The 0.5 percent drop was the first decline since a 0.3 percent pullback in the second quarter of last year and the largest since a 1 percent drop at the start of 2011.
Economists expect productivity growth will remain weak in 2012. JPMorgan is forecasting productivity gains of just 0.7 percent this year as companies add more workers. That compares with cumulative gains of 7.7 percent since the recession began in December 2007.
The drop comes after a string of steady gains in productivity, as employers slashed their payrolls during the 2007 recession but squeezed more output from thinner staffs. Some of those gains came from investment in technology and other efficiencies. Some of it came from asking workers - fearful of losing their jobs with the unemployment rate at 8.2 percent -- to work harder and put in longer hours.
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