U.S. productivity numbers released Thursday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed nonfarm business sector labor productivity dropped at a 2% annual rate during the fourth quarter of 2012. 

The metric is determined by dividing the amount of worker output by the amount of hours worked. The decrease reflects increases of 0.1% in output and 2.2% in hours worked. Unit labor costs increased 4.5% in the fourth quarter, a combination of the 2% decrease in productivity and a 2.4% increase in hourly compensation.  

The latest data showing a 2% decline in the metric are based on the average hourly output for employees across the country. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a 1.4% drop. The third quarter saw a 3.2 percent increase.


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