Business Briefs: Factory output rises in November in U.S.

Business Briefs: Factory output rises in November in U.S.

December 17th, 2013 by Staff Reports and Wire Service in Business Around the Region

Workers assemble Passat sedans at the VW plant in CHattanooga.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Factory output rises in November in U.S.

U.S. factories increased output in November for the fourth straight month, led by a surge in auto production. The gains show manufacturing is strengthening and could help boost economic growth at the end of the year.

Factory production rose 0.6 percent in November after a 0.5 percent gain in October, the Federal Reserve said Monday.

Production of motor vehicles and parts increased 3.4 percent, rebounding from a 1.3 percent decline in October.

U.S. productivity gains best in four years

U.S. workers boosted their productivity from July through September at the fastest pace since the end of 2009, adding to signs of stronger economic growth.

The Labor Department said Monday that productivity increased at a 3 percent annual rate in the third quarter. That's up from an initial estimate of 1.9 percent and much stronger than the 1.8 percent rate from April through June.

Productivity rose because economic growth was much stronger than previously estimated in the third quarter. Productivity is the amount of output per hour of work.

Higher productivity enables companies to pay employees more without sparking inflation. But greater productivity can also slow hiring if it shows companies don't need more workers to boost output.

However, productivity growth has been mostly flat over the past year. That's because the gains from the past six months have been offset by declines in previous six months.