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February 07, 2008
Productivity Growth Slows

Productivity--as measured by output per hour of all persons--grew at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007, according to preliminary data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

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Productivity grew 6.0 percent in the third quarter of 2007 as output rose 5.6 percent and hours fell 0.3 percent.

In the fourth quarter, output grew 0.4 percent and hours fell 1.5 percent. When the annual averages for 2007 were compared with annual averages for 2006, productivity rose 1.6 percent, slightly more than the 1.0 percent gain from 2005 to 2006.

Meanwhile, hourly compensation rose 3.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007, following a 4.0 percent increase in the third quarter. When the 4.3 percent increase in consumer prices was taken into account, real hourly compensation edged down 0.3 percent during the fourth quarter of 2007 (seasonally-adjusted annual rates).

Unit labor costs rose 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007, after declining 1.9 percent in the third quarter and 1.1 percent the second quarter.

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