There is some good news:
The reports come a day before the department is scheduled to release its unemployment report for May. Economists expect that report will show employers cut a net total of 520,000 jobs last month. That's on top of 5.7 million jobs that have been lost since the recession began in December 2007. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, will rise to 9.2 percent from 8.9 percent in April, analysts forecast.
Productivity, the amount of output per hour worked, rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.6 percent in the January-March period, the department said, double the government's estimate last month. The increase came despite a steep drop in output, because companies laid off employees and cut hours worked at an even faster pace. Higher productivity can raise living standards because workers that produce more can earn higher wages without forcing companies to raise prices.