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Greenspan Upbeat About Growth in Productivity

October 24, 2002|Martin Crutsinger | Associated Press

U.S. workers' productivity should continue to post solid gains in coming years, although not at the level of this year's surge, which may be one of the strongest increases in three decades, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Wednesday.

Greenspan, who has been a leading proponent of the view that the country has entered a new era of stronger productivity growth, told a conference that the productivity boom of the late 1990s has not faltered.

It has grown stronger over the last year, he said, even in the face of significant economic problems.

Greenspan said the increase in productivity -- the amount of output per hour of work -- for this year "will almost surely be reported as one of the largest advances, if not the largest, posted over the past 30 years."

Through the 12 months ended in June, productivity for nonfarm workers has risen by a sizable 4.8%, the biggest jump for a 12-month period since 1983. The gain is well above the improved rates of about 2.5% turned in since 1995 and far above the anemic productivity rate of about 1.5%, which the country was saddled with for two decades before 1995.

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