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News In Brief

Productivity of us workers rose at a 0.6 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter - far below the 3.6 percent rate in the first three months of the year, the Labor Department reported. The second-quarter productivity increase was smaller than many analysts expected. Meanwhile, unit labor costs, considered a key measure of wage pressures, rose at an annual rate of 4.5 percent in the second quarter, the largest increase since 1994.

Rising US interest rates failed to deter consumers from continuing in August their year-long shopping spree, strong retail-sales reports indicated. And, for the sixth consecutive week, the Labor Department reported that unemployment claims for the week ending July 28 remained below the 300,000 level, considered by many analysts to be an indicator of plentiful jobs. Both reports stirred concerns that the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates yet again in an effort to slow the pace of the economy.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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