U.S. nonfarm unit productivity fell at a 0.4% annual rate in the fourth quarter, off from the 3.2% growth estimates in the preliminary reading and from 1.5% growth in the third quarter, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported yesterday.

Unit labor cost growth increased at a 5.7% rate in the fourth quarter, up from the 1.8% rate in the preliminary fourth-quarter reading and the 2.6% pace in the prior quarter.

Thomson Reuters poll of economists expected a 1.5% rise in productivity and a 3.4% gain in unit labor costs.

The implicit price deflator grew at a 0.5% pace in the quarter, up from the preliminary estimate of a 0.5% slowing, but down from 4.7% growth in the third quarter. Real compensation soared 15.9% in the fourth quarter, compared to the 15.6% preliminary estimate, after a 2.4% slide in the third quarter.

Year-over-year growth in productivity rose at a 2.2% rate after a 2.7% estimate, following 2.2% growth in the previous quarter. Unit labor cost growth accelerated to a 1.8% year-to-year gain from a 1.4% rise in the previous quarter. The preliminary estimate was 0.7% growth.

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