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* Labor productivity up 0.1 percent in fourth quarter
* Canada outperforms U.S. in quarter, but behind in year
OTTAWA, March 8 (Reuters) - The labor productivity of Canadian businesses was nearly flat in the fourth quarter after two quarters of declines, edging up 0.1 percent, according to Statistics Canada data released on Friday.
Analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected productivity, a measure of real gross domestic product per hour worked, to remain unchanged.
Canada has generally fallen behind the United States on productivity measures, but in the fourth quarter, it outperformed its neighbor, where productivity declined 0.5 percent.
Business output was unchanged in the quarter, while hours worked slipped 0.1 percent, Statscan said. The labor cost per unit of output rose 0.6 percent, while average compensation per hour climbed 0.7 percent.
In 2012 as a whole, labor productivity of Canadian businesses rose 0.1 percent, down from 1.1 percent in 2011 and below the U.S. productivity growth of 0.9 percent.