updated 3/5/2009 8:37:15 AM ET 2009-03-05T13:37:15
BREAKING NEWS

The government says the deepening recession caused worker productivity to slide by a worse-than-expected amount in the fourth quarter while wage pressures shot up at the fastest clip in two years.

The Labor Department said Thursday productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, fell at an annual rate of 0.4 percent in the October-December period. At the same time, unit labor costs were surging by 5.7 percent.

While the combination of falling productivity and rising wage pressures would normally raise alarm bells about inflation, the threat of any resurgence of price pressures is seen as remote given the severity of the current recession.

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