Worker productivity rose more than expected in the October-December quarter as companies squeezed more output from their employees.
The Labor Department says productivity rose by a seasonally adjusted 6.2 percent in the fourth quarter, above analysts' expectations of a 6 percent rise.
The increase follows two quarters of sharply rising productivity. Overall, productivity has risen 5.1 percent in the past four quarters, the most since the 12 months ending with the first quarter of 2002.
Productivity often rises at the end of recessions as companies ramp up output before hiring new workers. Rising productivity can raise living standards in the long run. But it can also make it easier for companies to postpone new hiring.
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