US productivity surges as staff levels shrink

Output per American worker rose at its fastest pace in six years in the second quarter as businesses wrung more from shrinking workforces.

In a sign economic recovery will be slow and unlikely to lead to a surge in hiring, a Labour Department report showed that hourly output per employee jumped at an annual rate of 6.4 per cent. A separate report showed US wholesalers cut inventories of unsold goods for a tenth month in a row in July.