WORK: Troubling Dip in Efficiency

One of the U.S. economy's most vexing ailments is a slump in productivity—that measure of output per man-hour that is the best gauge of national economic efficiency. When labor, materials and machines are managed effectively and productivity rises, more goods and services are turned out. Managers can raise wages without adding to production costs or boosting prices. Indeed, a sustained rise in productivity is essential if the U.S. is ever to quell inflation while expanding its economy fast enough to meet its needs for more job opportunities and improved housing, education and...