Fourth-quarter productivity cut to 1.8% from 3.2%

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U.S. productivity in the fourth quarter grew at a 1.8% annual rate instead of 3.2% as originally reported, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday. The increase in output of goods and services was cut to 3.4% from 4.9%, largely accounting for the downward revision in productivity. The gain in hours worked was trimmed to 1.6% from 1.7%. Unit-labor costs fell by just 0.1% instead of 1.6%. Hourly wages of American workers rose at a 1.7% annual clip, but after taking inflation into account, the increase was just 0.8%. Both figures were little changed from the preliminary report. In the manufacturing sector, the rise in productivity was revised down to 1.3% from 2%. Productivity is a good barometer of a nation’s well-being. The wealthiest countries have the most productive workers. U.S. productivity has slowed sharply over the past few years after spiking during the tail end of the recession and the early stages of the recovery. 

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Fourth-quarter productivity lowered to 1.8%