Business: Vanishing Vigor

Worker output slackens around the world

Since productivity is a key indicator of a nation's economic vigor, the figures issued last week by the Labor Department made sober reading. According to the study, 25 of 66 major industrial groups showed outright declines in the hourly output of their workers in 1977. As a whole, the rate of rise in productivity in the manufacturing sector slowed markedly last year to only 2.2%, vs. 6.8% in 1976. The biggest drops were in clay-working (down 7.4%), grain-milling (7.1%) and footwear (4.3%) industries. Productivity in the coal industry...

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