WASHINGTON — U.S. nonfarm unit productivity rose at a 2.2% annual rate in the first quarter, slightly ahead of expectations and a faster pace than in the previous quarter, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported yesterday.

Analysts expected productivity to slow to a 1.7% rate of growth from the previously reported fourth-quarter pace of 1.9%. Fourth-quarter productivity was revised down to a 1.8% rate with the report.

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