WASHINGTON — U.S. nonfarm productivity rose at a 1.8% annual rate in the first quarter of 2011, according to the Labor Department’s second estimate released on Thursday.

The increase was up from a projected 1.6% growth in the earlier estimate, but down from a revised 2.9% increase in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Unit labor costs were up 0.7%.

Economists were expecting a 1.7% increase in productivity and a 0.8% increase in unit labor costs.

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