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The U.S. Labor Department released non-farm productivity figures on Wednesday. Productivity in the U.S. non-farm businesses fell at a 1.9% annual rate in the first quarter, missing expectations for a 1.8% decrease, after a 2.2% drop in the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter's figure was revised down from a 1.8% fall.
The decline was driven by lower output, which fell 0.2% in April. Hours worked climbed by 1.7%.
Unit labour costs increased 5.0% in the first quarter, exceeding expectations for a 4.3% rise, after a 4.2 gain in the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter's figure was revised up from a 4.1% increase.
These figures indicate that the U.S. economy slowed down in the final months of 2014.
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