Canada's labour productivity fell for the first time in more than a year in the fourth quarter as GDP growth slowed while hours worked continued to increase steadily
Productivity lost 0.8 per cent in the fourth quarter, after posting a slight 0.1 increase in each of the previous two quarters.
For all of 2007, labour productivity increased a mere 0.5 per cent, the lowest annual increase since 2004.
For U.S. businesses, the quarterly labour productivity decelerated significantly in the fourth quarter, increasing only 0.2 per cent, after rising 1.6 in the third quarter.
Despite this slowdown, U.S. businesses had a revised growth of 1.9 per cent in their year's productivity, an improvement over the one per cent growth of 2006.
The higher productivity gains among U.S. businesses in 2007 marked the first time in three years the differential in annual productivity growth favoured the Americans.
Statistics Canada blamed Canada's fourth quarter drop on a significant decrease in professional, scientific and technical services, construction and mining, and oil-and-gas extraction.
Moreover, productivity in manufacturing fell for the first time since the third quarter of 2006.
Significant productivity gains were posted in wholesale trade, utilities and in accommodation and food services.