Bloomberg News

WASHINGTON - American workers were even more productive than first thought during the second quarter, according to a government report released Wednesday, which reinforced last month's decision by Federal Reserve policymakers to keep interest rates unchanged.

Productivity, a measure of how much a worker produces for each hour on the job, grew at a 5.7% annual rate from April through June, the Labor Department said. That is up from the 5.3% growth originally estimated and triple the 1.9% increase for the first quarter.

"Productivity allows the U.S. economy to grow faster than any of its trading partners' anywhere in the world," said Chris Rupkey, senior economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd. in New York. "Workers can be paid more money without causing inflation to pick up."

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