U.S. output per worker rose at its fastest pace in six years during the second quarter as businesses wrung more productivity from fewer staff in a sign that a recovery from recession will be slow and unlikely to create a surge in hiring.

A Labor Department report showed non-farm productivity, a gauge of hourly output per worker, jumped at a 6.4 percent annual rate, the sharpest since the third quarter of 2003 after a 0.3 percent gain in the January-March quarter.

“The bounce in productivity is another indication that the nasty U.S. recession is drawing to a close. The bad news is, however, that firms are still reluctant to hire,” said Harm Bandholz, an economist at UniCredit Markets and Investment Banking in New York.

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