The U.S. Labor Department released non-farm productivity figures on Thursday. Preliminary productivity in the U.S. non-farm businesses slid at a 3.0% annual rate in the fourth quarter, missing expectations for a 1.8% decrease, after a 2.1% increase in the third quarter. It was the biggest drop since the first quarter of 2014.
The third quarter's figure was revised down from a 2.2% gain.
The drop was driven by a rise in labour-related production costs.
Hours worked jumped by 3.3% in the fourth quarter, while output rose by 0.1%.
In 2015 as whole, productivity rose 0.6%, the weakest rise since 2013, after a 0.7% increase in 2014.
Preliminary unit labour costs increased 4.5% in the fourth quarter, exceeding expectations for a 3.9% rise, after a 1.9 gain in the third quarter. The third quarter's figure was revised up from a 1.8% increase.
In 2015 as whole, labour costs climbed 2.4, the largest increase since 2007, after a 2.0% gain.