The Office for National Statistics said unit labour costs grew by 0.4% in the final quarter of 2015 compared with the previous three months, and by 1.3% over the year.
Output per hour decreased 1.2% in the fourth quarter from a quarter ago offsetting a 0.6% rise in the previous three months. This was the biggest fall since the end of 2008.
By contrast, output per worker and output per job were both broadly unchanged between the third and fourth quarters, the ONS said.
Labor productivity was about half a % higher in the fourth quarter than in the same quarter of 2014.
Despite the fourth quarter relapse, there are signs that UK companies have stepped up their efforts in recent months to get more out of their workers, and April’s introduction of the National Living Wage gives them added impetus to do so, IHS Global Insight’s Economist Howard Archer, said.
On a yearly basis, output per hour gained at a slower pace of 0.4% after rising 1.5% in the third quarter.