U.S. productivity rose 2.2% last quarter

A trainee uses software simulating a milling machine at a Siemens training center. Productivity rose last quarter in the U.S., and analyst Josh Brown says technology plays a role in that.

The government said this morning that productivity rose last quarter by 2.2 percent. That's more than originally thought, and it means that businesses are doing more with less.

Josh Brown of Fusion Analytics joins us live to discuss as he does each Wednesday. On the boost in productivity, he says, "I think there's a lot of technology that's assisting this, and I also think you have to look at this in the context of jobs. We really only added 75,000 jobs a month in the second quarter; that's down from the first quarter when we were adding 226,000. So productivity rises as a result of that, but the thing to keep in mind is that the rate of productivity is slowing -- only 1 percent this year, far below the 3 percent of '09 and 2010." Brown says he believe companies will have to hire eventually.

As for the latest jobs report due this Friday: "It's difficult to see a major improvement there." Brown says, "Barring any kind of major surprise, people should just kind of look at this as the muddle-through economy that we've had, other than the really great first couple months of this year."

About the author

Josh Brown is a New York City-based financial adviser at Fusion Analytics.

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