U.S. nonfarm unit labor costs rose at a 2.6% annual rate of growth in the fourth quarter, above the 2.1% rise seen in the preliminary report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported yesterday. Unit labor costs fell a revised 2.7% in the third quarter and 1.3% in the second quarter.

Productivity growth rose at a faster-than-expected 1.9% annual rate in the fourth quarter, up from the 1.8% in the preliminary report, a sharp deceleration from the 6.3% rise in the third quarter. Output growth slowed to a 0.3% annual rate of growth from the 5.6% rate in the third quarter. At the same time, hours worked fell 1.6% at an annual rate in the quarter, a faster rate of decline than the 0.6% drop in the third quarter.

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