OTTAWA (Reuters) - The labor productivity of Canadian businesses fell more sharply than expected in the third quarter, declining 0.5 percent in contrast to U.S. productivity which increased 0.6 percent in the same period, Statistics Canada said on Friday.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a 0.2 percent decline in productivity in the third quarter.
The setback followed an even sharper 0.6 percent decline in the second quarter, which came after three consecutive quarters of gains.
Statscan attributed the poor performance in productivity to an increase in the hours worked even though business output was unchanged from the previous quarter.
The real gross domestic product of Canadian business was flat while the hours worked climbed by 0.4 percent, easing slightly from a 1.1 percent increase in the second quarter.
Reporting by Louise Egan and Alex Paterson; Editing by Nick Zieminski