Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Logistics managers must continue to deal with modest gains in productivity

Despite all the fears over the fiscal cliff, employers added an average of 201,000 jobs per month, compared with 152,000 in the third quarter. Real GDP contracted, however, in part due to massive but temporary corrections in defense spending and inventories.
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
February 12, 2013

In its preliminary fourth quarter “Report on Productivity and Labor Costs,” IHS Global Insight U.S. economists suggest that both hiring and productivity will move upward…but at a snail’s pace.

“The expiry of the payroll tax cut and other headwinds have left further acceleration in employment growth over the next few months unlikely,” said economist, Erik Johnson. “But the underlying fundamentals in the economy are trending upward, and 2013’s employment growth should at least match 2012’s.”


As expected, nonfarm labor productivity declined by 2.0% in the fourth quarter. Nonfarm business output grew by just 0.1% annualized, the worst showing in nearly two years, even as employee hours were up 2.2% over the previous quarter. Year-on-year, productivity growth was just 0.6%, the slowest pace of 2012. For 2012 overall, productivity growth was 1.0%, compared with 0.7% in 2011 and 3.1% in 2010.

After two quarters in which hiring lagged behind output growth, the tables turned in the fourth quarter. Despite all the fears over the fiscal cliff, employers added an average of 201,000 jobs per month, compared with 152,000 in the third quarter. Real GDP contracted, however, in part due to massive but temporary corrections in defense spending and inventories.

Coming out of the recession, companies slashed payrolls and worked their existing employees to the bone – this would explain the strong productivity figures we saw in 2009 (3.0%) and 2010 (3.1%). But firms have squeezed about as much as they can out of their workforces and have resorted to hiring more in order to raise output. Thus, productivity growth has been relatively muted over the past two years.

“With fiscal concerns lingering and foreign growth issues persisting, we expect both output and hiring to trend up modestly,” said Johnson in an interview with Supply Chain Management Review —a sister publication.. “We expect a first-quarter rebound in output growth and gradual improvement thereafter. The result: productivity should grow around 0.5% in 2013 and drift up slowly, but it will be years before productivity returns to its long-term trend rate of 2%.”

About the Author

image
Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Shippers and other ocean cargo carrier stakeholders should be cheering the announcement made today by The U.S. Coast Guard, as it formally notified the International Maritime Organization through a Declaration of Equivalency that the United States position on SOLAS is that there are multiple methods to submit the combined cargo and container weight (Verified Gross Mass or VGM).

The proposed $4.8 billion acquisition of TNT Express N.V. by FedEx took a major step closer to becoming official today, with the company and TNT announcing today that they have received unconditional approval of the offer from the Ministry of Commerce People’s Republic of China (MOCFCOM).

March shipments at 798,180 trailed February by 12 percent and were down 19 percent annually. For the entire first quarter, shipments were relatively flat annually, rising 0.27 percent to 2,587,988.

OCEMA says it has placed a priority on working with other stakeholders to find operational solutions that will help U.S. exporters, carriers, and marine terminals prepare for the implementation of the SOLAS Verified Gross Mass (VGM) rule.

The first quarter is typically the slowest period of freight demand for LTL carriers. With a few notable exceptions, that was reflected in first quarter earnings reports of the major publicly held LTL carriers.

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2016 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA