US productivity grew at 3.2 percent rate in Q4

Friday, January 31, 2014, Vol. 38, No. 5

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. productivity slowed in the fourth quarter while labor costs kept falling. For the year, productivity turned in another weak gain.

The Labor Department says productivity grew at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the October-December period, down slightly from a 3.6 percent growth rate in the third quarter. Labor costs fell at a 1.6 percent rate in the fourth quarter after an even bigger 2 percent rate of decline in the third quarter.

For the year, productivity rose a slight 0.6 percent, down from a 1.5 percent increase in 2012, and the weakest performance since an 0.5 percent rise in 2011. Labor costs edged up a slight 1 percent in 2013, continuing a trend of modest gains in labor costs.