[Marxism] WSJ-Increase in Relative Surplus-value in theUS

johnaimani johnaimani at earthlink.net
Sun Nov 1 23:22:21 MST 2009

  a.. OCTOBER 23, 2009
U.S. Manufacturing Productivity Jumps 
The U.S. enjoyed one of the largest increases in manufacturing productivity among 17 countries last year despite also posting the biggest drop in employment, as companies got more output from fewer workers.

The employment picture has worsened this year, with unemployment reaching 9.8% in September. And the number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week, the Labor Department said Thursday in its weekly report.

Both the U.S. and South Korea saw productivity rise 1.2% in 2008, the first full year of the recession, from 2007. They experienced the largest increases of the 17 countries included in the Labor Department's international manufacturing-productivity report released Thursday. Productivity, which is defined as output per hour worked, declined in 12 of the countries, with the largest drops in Singapore and Denmark.

In the U.S., "productivity growth in manufacturing has been above that in services for some time," said Mike Elsby, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Michigan. "Put another way, manufacturing has been progressively doing more with less for 40 years. Consequently, I would expect it to continue."

Over the long run, productivity is key to improved living standards because it spurs rising output, incomes and asset values. But in a down economy, improving productivity with existing workers might mean hiring fewer new ones.


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