The average annual productivity of the American worker fell 1.7 percent from 2021 to 2022, the largest annual decline since 1974, the Labor Department said Thursday.
The Department of Labor said that labor productivity increased just 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter of the year as output rose 3.1 percent and hours worked rose 1.4 percent.
This was 1.3 percent below the preliminary estimate of an increase of 3.0 percent. Economists had forecast a much milder decline to 2.5 percent.
Compared with the fourth quarter of 2021, productivity declined by 1.8 percent.
Unit labor costs—a measure of what employers pay to produce a unit of output—jumped at a 3.2 percent annualized rate in the October through December period, the Labor Department said on Thursday.