WASHINGTON, March 7 (Xinhua) -- U.S. nonfarm business sector labor productivity rose at a 0.9 percent annual rate during the fourth quarter of 2011, the U.S. Labor Department reported Wednesday.
The revised increase pace was faster than the preliminary estimate of 0.7 percent released last month, but is only about half the pace of the third quarter.
The gain in productivity reflected increases of 3.7 percent in output and 2.7 percent in hours worked in the fourth quarter last year, the department said.
Unit labor costs in nonfarm businesses rose 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter, as the increase in hourly compensation outpaced the growth of productivity. The level is lower than the 3.9 percent rise in the third quarter.
Annual average productivity increased 0.4 percent from 2010 to 2011.
In the fourth quarter, U.S. manufacturing sector productivity edged down 0.1 percent as output rose 4.8 percent and hours worked increased 4.9 percent. Over the last four quarters, manufacturing productivity grew 1.7 percent.
Productivity measures the amount of output per hour of work. A slow down in productivity can be a sign for future hiring because it may mean that companies have to add more workers if they want to grow.