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U.S. productivity rises 2.6% in fourth quarter

U.S. productivity rises 2.6% in fourth quarter (by Jeffry Bartash)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The productivity of American businesses climbed a seasonally adjusted 2.6% in the fourth quarter, the Labor Department said Thursday. The quantity of goods and services produced, known as real output, grew at an annualized rate of 4.5%, while hours worked rose 1.8%. Productivity is calculated by dividing real output by hours worked. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch projected productivity to increase 2.2% in the final three months of 2010. Productivity rose a revised 2.4% in the third quarter.