WASHINGTON — U.S. non-farm productivity edged up at a 0.9% annualized rate in the fourth quarter of 2011, after rising a revised 1.8% in the third quarter, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.
A month ago, Labor estimated non-farm productivity rose 0.7% in the fourth quarter. The gain reflected increases of 3.7% in output and 2.7% in hours worked, the department said.
Unit labor costs, a ratio of hourly compensation to labor productivity, rose 2.8% in the fourth quarter after rising a revised 3.9% in the previous quarter. In last month’s preliminary report, Labor saw these costs up 1.2% in the quarter.
The gain in productivity was slightly greater than the median 0.8% increase projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters. Unit labor costs were higher than their median projection of a 1.2% gain.
The 3.7% gain in non-farm business workers’ output for the fourth quarter compared to a revised gain of 2.8% in the previous quarter. The 2.7% increase in hours worked compared to a revised 1.0% gain for the previous quarter.
Hourly compensation rose 3.7%, after rising a revised 5.7% the previous quarter.