U.S. nonfarm productivity fell less steeply than previously thought in the fourth quarter, but still pushed up labor-related costs as companies employed more workers to raise output.
The Labor Department said on Thursday that productivity, which measures hourly output per worker, decreased at a 2.2 percent annual rate and not the 3.0 percent pace it reported last month. It was still the biggest drop since the first quarter of 2014.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected fourth-quarter productivity would be revised to show it contracting at a 3.2 percent rate. Productivity increased at a 2.0 percent rate in the third quarter and rose only 0.7 percent in 2015 - the smallest gain since 2013.
The weak productivity reflects a slowdown in gross domestic product growth during the quarter and an acceleration in the pace of hiring.