Workforce Committee Republicans Congratulate U.S. Workers on Best Productivity Rate in 19 Years

May 7, 2002

News from the

Committee on Education and the Workforce

John Boehner, Chairman

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the Labor Department today reported a robust worker productivity rate — 8.6 percent in the first quarter of this year — Workforce Committee Republicans praised our nation’s workers for being the driving force behind the current economic recovery.

     “After a difficult year of recession and war, our nation’s work ethic is as strong as ever,” said Education & the Workforce Committee Chairman John Boehner (R-OH). “Vigorous worker productivity means we can expect a strong overall economy.”

     As the Associated Press noted today, worker productivity — “the amount of output per hour of work” — is a “key ingredient to the economy’s long-term vitality.” The first-quarter gain announced today, the AP observed, was “the best performance in nearly 19 years.”

     The AP article also noted: “In the long run, productivity gains are good for workers, for the economy and for companies, whose profits took a hit during the slump. Gains in productivity allow companies to pay workers more without raising prices, which would eat up those wage gains, and permit the economy to grow faster without triggering inflation.”

     “When worker productivity goes up, workers benefit,” observed Workforce Protections Subcommittee Chairman Charlie Norwood (R-GA). “Our nation’s workers deserve our thanks for overcoming great adversity and putting us back on track for strong economic growth.”

     “The rise in productivity in the first quarter helped to push down unit labor costs, a gauge of inflation,” AP continued. “Unit labor costs declined at an annual rate of 5.4 percent, the biggest drop since the second quarter of 1983.”

     “Today’s economic news is very positive,” said Employer-Employee Relations Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX). “Thanks to the unmatched work ethic of our nation’s employees, we can be confident that we’re on the road to recovery.”


Dave Schnittger or

Heather Valentine

Telephone: (202) 225-4527