PRODUCTIVITY RISES: U.S. companies got slightly more out of their workers this spring after scaling back on hiring. Worker productivity grew at a 1.6 percent annualized pace in the second quarter, after falling 0.5 percent in the first quarter.

WEAK GROWTH: Still, productivity is up only 1.1 percent compared to a year ago. Since 1947 productivity gains have averaged 2.2 percent a year.

MODEST HIRING: Productivity is the amount of output per hour worked. Companies may need to hire more workers if they see only modest gains in productivity and more demand for their products.