3/3/2011 9:15:00 AM
U.S. workersâ€™ productivity rose at a 2.6% annual rate in the fourth quarter, matching an earlier estimate, the Labor Department said Thursday.
The level followed a 2.3% gain in the third quarter, which was lower than the 2.4% previously reported.
Productivity is a measure of how much an employee produces for every hour of work.
The reading was within the range of economistsâ€™ forecasts, Bloomberg reported.
For the year, productivity rose 3.9%, the biggest increase since 2002.
Labor costs fell 0.6% for the quarter and declined for a second straight year, declining 1.5%.
Among manufacturers, productivity rose 5.9% in the quarter, up from an originally reported 5.8%. Third-quarter productivity had risen 1.3%.
When worker efficiency improves at a slower pace and labor becomes more expensive, companies may raise prices in order to guard their profits, contributing to more rapid inflation.
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