US productivity slows in fourth quarter

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. productivity fell in the final three months of 2015 at the fastest pace in nearly two years, though the decline was not as large as first reported. Labor costs jumped in the fourth quarter at the fastest pace in a year.

The Labor Department says productivity — the amount of output per hour of work — fell at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the October-December period. Preliminary data had reported a 3 percent drop. Labor costs rose at a rate of 3.3 percent, revised from an initial 4.5 percent estimate.

For all of 2015, productivity increased 0.7 percent, marking the fifth straight year of weak gains. That is a troubling development given that productivity is a key ingredient needed for rising living standards.