US records productivity boost ahead of crucial Fed meeting

US BUSINESS productivity increased at the fastest pace in four years during the third quarter, according to official figures released ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monthly policy meeting.

A Bureau of Labor Statistics release showed that productivity rose three per cent in three months to September, the best result since the fourth quarter of 2009.

Industrial production also improved significantly between October and November, with a 1.1 per cent upswing. This means that production has now recovered to above pre-recession levels.

The strong statistics contribute to suggestions that the Federal Reserve will begin to trim its $85bn (£52bn) of monthly asset purchases during the meeting which begins today and finishes tomorrow.

Paul Dales, senior US economist at Capital Economics, believes that the figures signal the beginning of the end for quantitative easing: “While this week’s Fed policy decision remains a close call, at the margin the data released today support our view that the Fed may begin to taper QE.”