Economic Report: Fourth-quarter labor costs revised higher

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The cost of labor rose sharply in the fourth quarter, according to revised data released by the Labor Department Thursday.

Unit labor costs rose a revised 0.9% in the final three months of the year, up from the initial estimate of a 0.3% gain.

Rising wages can fuel inflation as companies pass along their costs to consumers.

Unit labor costs are up 3.5% over the last four quarters.

Overall fourth-quarter productivity rose 6.6%, unrevised from the initial estimate released last month, the government said.

Output increased 9.1% in the fourth quarter while hours worked rose 2.4%.

Annual average productivity increased 1.9% in 2021.

Productivity data has been volatile during the pandemic. There is a sense that workers have become more productive, but so far the data is inconclusive.

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