Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

The April Review

Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

The April Review

Article excerpt

The rate of increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decelerated to 1.9 percent in 2003, according to Todd Wilson's summary of consumer price developments last year. Food and energy prices conspired to bring the rate of change up. When food and energy are excluded, the resulting measure of "core" consumer price inflation was only 1.1 percent. This was the smallest increase in core CPI-U since 1960.

Among the global factors driving higher energy prices were an increase in world demand, the war in Iraq, and an oil-worker strike in Venezuela.

Lucy P. Eldridge, Marilyn E. Manser, and Phyllis Flohr Otto present an evaluation of alternate methods of calculating the hours at work that underlie measures of productivity in the United States. Under current procedures, the hours of nonproduction and supervisory workers are estimated using the assumption that they have hours roughly similar to those of their "shop floor" counterparts. Using data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), Eldridge, Manser, and Otto find that nonproduction and supervisory workers put in measurably more time than do nonsupervisory workers, particularly in service industries. …

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