An article in CCN Money reports that, based on current statistics provided by the US Labor Department, employee productivity fell by 0.9% in the second quarter. The author goes on to say that people are burning out, company's need to realize that they need to hire more people to keep productivity levels in check, and potentially to add consumers to the marketplace to fuel demand for more goods and services.
The actual report from the DLS is here: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/prod2.nr0.htm
Is the author making a populist argument here. Looking at the numbers in more detail, some things jump out at me. Manufacturing and durable manufacturing productivity increases were significant on a Quarterly and Annual basis (over 10%), with hourly costs and unit labor costs actually decreasing. The result of better technology and manufacturing automation? Are we making progress in becoming a competitive global manufacturer? Are unions becoming less effective? What is driving this increase in manufacturing productivity and lower labor costs? Are people being worked to the bone, or is better technology and automation making it possible to do more with less people? If this is the case, then that is a good thing for american competitiveness, but where do the factory workers go? Perhaps this is another case of 'Creative Destruction' as defined by Thomas Friedman. Lower level jobs being displaced by technology will require workers to get training in new skills that are applicable in more current industries.
Where are the new middle class jobs. They are not the old middle class jobs.