The labor department is reporting that productivity rose in the second quarter while labor costs drop, and this is touted as a sign the recession is slowing. I have the opposite view. I think this is an indication of how deep the recession really was.
Productivy rose because people are scared shitless of losing their jobs and pushing themselves to not only keep their job, but to make up for the work of the people who were not so lucky. We now have one person doing the work of at least two, but consider that a good sign.
Labor costs went down because people were either laid off, not given a raise, or asked to take a pay cut. Most of the people I know did not get a raise this year as the company was forced to make the decision between layoffs or no raises and chose to keep their staff, yet we see the reduction in labor costs as a good sign.
Seeing this particular statistic as a good sign and not that we are working are people harder for less because we can't afford anything else, is proof for me that the labor department is seeing only the numbers and not the people behind them.
There is more than this information that a few percentages, there are people behind every number.
2 hours ago