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UK productivity worsens in last three months of 2014: ONS

[LONDON] British economic productivity fell in the last three months of 2014 and remains well below its level before the financial crisis hit in 2008, underscoring the challenge of making the country's recovery sustainable in the long term.

Output per hour worked dropped by 0.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared with the previous three-month period, its first fall since mid-2013, the Office for National Statistics said.

British productivity has been very weak since the financial crisis as employment has grown far faster than output.

"The absence of productivity growth in the seven years since 2007 is unprecedented in the post-war period," the ONS said.

Overall hourly productivity grew only marginally in 2014 as a whole and by less than the 0.5 per cent forecast made by the Bank of England in February. Unit labour costs rose by an annual 1.2 per cent in the last three months of 2014.