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The U.S. Could Be on the Verge of a Productivity Boom


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A person works with robots at Procter & Gambles Tabler Station factory in Martinsburg, WV.

The optimism derives partly from Congress and the White House taking steps to make significant investments in physical and digital infrastructure, and partly from the coronavirus pandemic forcing rapid widespread adoption of the digital economy, robots, and artificial intelligence.

Credit: Timothy Aeppel/Reuters

The United States is currently experiencing a surge in worker productivity that could rival that of the tech boom 20 years ago — if it lasts.

As companies and customers embrace new technologies, making it easier for Americans to produce more with fewer workers, a growing number of economists say this is not a blip and could turn into a boom — or, at least, a "mini boom" with wide-ranging benefits for years to come.

Higher productivity is the economy's special sauce. Productivity refers to how much output a worker can do in an hour. When workers have better tools or the help of robots and artificial intelligence, they can make cars or process data much faster. Higher productivity typically leads to more goods and services available at a lower cost and increases in wages. Without it, economic growth is sluggish.

From The Washington Post
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