WASHINGTON — U.S. non-farm productivity slipped at a 0.5% annualized rate in the first quarter of 2012, after rising a revised 1.2% in the fourth quarter of 2011, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The decline reflected increases of 2.7% in output and 3.2% in hours worked, the department said.

Unit labor costs, a ratio of hourly compensation to labor productivity, rose 2.0% in the first quarter after rising a revised 2.7% in the previous quarter.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expected a 0.5% decline in productivity and a 2.8% rise in unit labor costs.

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