Worker Productivity Sank in 4th Quarter
— Ben Leubsdorf
The U.S. economy experienced one of its worst productivity declines in more than two decades at the end of last year, extending a sluggish trend that threatens to constrain worker pay and economic growth. The productivity of nonfarm workers, measured as output per hour worked, decreased at a 2.2% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the fourth quarter, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was an upgrade from the agency’s initial estimate last month that fourth-quarter productivity declined at a 3% annual rate.