Nonfarm Business Productivity Declined in Q1
May 07, 2014
Nonfarm Business Productivity Declined 1.7% in Q1
On the Hill
- A bill to overhaul the data and intelligence collection practices of the National Security Administration (NSA) could reach the House floor as early as May 19, well ahead of expectations from the White House and the Senate, both of whom anticipated that the issue would not be considered until after the midterm elections. There are currently two versions of an overhaul. The House Judiciary Committee version is more far-reaching and would ban the government from collecting any American data in bulk, whereas the House Intelligence Committee version of the bill only calls for an overhaul to the NSA phone program and several other types of data but does not include a blanket prohibition of all collection.
- A House select committee to probe the attacks in Benghazi will be established with seven Republicans and five Democrats and will be chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC). The “Gowdy Committee” plans to conduct a full investigation into all “policies, decisions, and activities that contributed to the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi,” and it will also consider policies that can prevent similar attacks in the future. Some House Democrats, like Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), are strongly opposed to the committee as it does not include equal representation of both Democrats and Republicans, like the House Ethics Committee.
- Nonfarm business productivity, which measures the growth of labor efficiency in producing goods and services, declined 1.7% in the first quarter of 2014. This was below the market consensus before the announcement of a 1.2% decrease and well below the 1.8% growth in productivity during the last quarter of 2013. The indicator was negatively impacted by adverse winter weather, which caused unit labor costs to rise 4.2% instead of the expected 2.8%.
- The congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment, a report produced by more than 300 experts, attributes adverse climate change to human behavior. The report cites that it is not too late to implement policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and it connects global climate change to local issues, like receding ice in Alaska and wildfires in the West.