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US economic efficiency in reverse last year

The productivity of the nation's economy -- a key factor in the fight against inflation -- declined a discouraging 0.9 percent during 1979, the Labor Department reported Monday. It was only the second time since 1947 that this measure of the economy's efficiency declined over a full year. The last such drop occurred during the 1974 recession and measured 3 percent. A decline in productivity generally means a rise in inflation.

Productivity is given as US output of goods and services per hour of work. What happened last year, the department said, was that people worked more hours, but their output did not increase correspondingly.

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