Afternoon Coffee: Oil Prices Hit 2016 High, Worker Productivity Falls in Q1 Stock

Oil prices hit their highest point of 2016 today, with Brent crude futures reaching $50.91 a barrel. U.S. crude prices also rose to $50.37 a barrel, their highest since October 2015.

U.S. worker productivity dropped during the first quarter of the year by an annual rate of 0.6%. Labor costs during the same period, however, rose 5.4%, meaning companies are paying workers more money to produce the same amount of goods and services.

The decline in demand for commercial trucks in the United States is causing automotive corporation Daimler AG to lay off more than 1,200 workers at plants in the U.S. and Mexico. Daimler recently reported a 15% drop in North American sales of medium and heavy-duty trucks.

Union Pacific Chairman, President and CEO Lance Fritz is concerned with anti-trade talk in the U.S. presidential campaign this year. He said global trade was “not getting a fair shake in the dialogue” among the candidates and negative discussions around the North American Free Trade Agreement, for example, could pose a risk to the U.S. economy and consumers.


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