The U.S. Labor Department reported that American worker efficiency in 2005 rose at its slowest pace since 2001. Meanwhile, labor costs rose at its quickest pace in five years.Productivity rose by 2.7 percent last year, while labor costs rose by 2.4 percent. that figure represents the biggest increase since 2000 saw a 4.2 percent increase. The government also reported that productivity actually fell by 0.6 percent in the last three months of the year, representing the first decline since early 2001. Labor costs actually rose by 2.4 percent in the final three months of the year.
In other economic news, the government said unemployment benefits filings dropped to 273,000 last week, a decline of 11,000 from the previous week.
Jobless claims have been below 300,000 for four out of the past five weeks, pushing the four-week moving average for claims down to 283,500 last week, the lowest level in 5 1/2 years.