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WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies will have to keep hiring steadily to meet their customers’ rising demand. That’s the message that emerged Wednesday from a report that employers are finding it harder to squeeze more output from their existing staff.

Worker productivity rose at an annual rate of 0.9 percent in the October-December quarter, the Labor Department said. While that’s a slight upward revision from last month’s preliminary estimate, it’s half the pace from the July-September quarter.

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