Productivity Jumps More Than Expected

Strong fourth quarter productivity growth caused a 1.1% drop in unit labor costs, which is good news for inflation

Fourth-quarter productivity jumped 3.5%, slightly higher than expected for the non-farm business sector, after a revised 1.1% gain in the third quarter (up 1.5% previously). For the year as a whole, productivity -- the amount of output per hour worked -- was up 1.8%, down from the 3.3% rise in 2000. The strong productivity growth caused a 1.1% drop in unit labor costs, which is good news for inflation.

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