Exports, spending power Q4 productivity rise

OTTAWA — The labour productivity of Canadian businesses grew 1.4 per cent in the fourth quarter, its first increase since the third quarter of 2008.

OTTAWA — The labour productivity of Canadian businesses grew 1.4 per cent in the fourth quarter, its first increase since the third quarter of 2008.

Businesses increased their real output by 1.4 per cent in Q4, the highest growth rate since the first quarter of 2002.

Statistics Canada reports the fourth-quarter gain was fuelled primarily by exports, consumer spending and residential investment.

Hours worked in the business sector remained unchanged in the fourth quarter, after increasing 0.3 per cent in the third.

Employment edged up 0.1 per cent, while hours worked per job fell by 0.1.

The agency says both goods-producing and service-producing sectors made positive contributions to the upturn in business productivity in the fourth quarter.

The productivity of goods-producing businesses increased 1.7 per cent after three quarters of declines. The growth was widespread, most notable being manufacturing, which advanced 2.1 per cent.

Productivity in the service-producing industries increased one per cent, its fourth straight quarterly gain. The largest increases were in wholesale trade, retail trade and information and cultural services.

Labour costs per unit of production in Canadian dollars were unchanged for Canadian businesses in the fourth quarter, after edging down 0.1 per cent the previous quarter.