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February 03, 2005
Pace Slows for Productivity Growth

In the fourth quarter, productivity grew by the smallest margin since early 2001, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

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Productivity--as measured by output per hour--grew at an annual rate of 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter, down from the 1.8 percent rise in the third quarter.

On an annual average basis, productivity rose 4.1 percent. Hourly compensation in the nonfarm business sector rose 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004, following a 3.5-percent increase in the third quarter. When changes in consumer prices were taken into account, real hourly compensation declined 0.3 percent during the fourth quarter of 2004 and increased 1.6 percent in the third quarter.

Unit labor costs increased 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter, after rising 1.6 percent in the third quarter of 2004.

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