WASHINGTON – Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen gingerly pressed Congress to focus on ways to boost "very low" labor productivity. "I am not going to give you detailed instruction, this is up to Congress to decide," Yellen said. But public investment, workforce development and the pace of technological progress are widely seen by economists as factors that could influence productivity and "should be on Congress' list to focus on," she said. Extremely weak productivity growth since the U.S. recovery began has confounded economists and helps explain why growth has not been as strong as is usually the case after a recession. Productivity has risen a scant 1.2% annually since 2007, compared with a 2.6% rate from 2000-2007.
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