U.S. employment costs rose just 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter, Labor Department data showed on Friday, as a bleak jobs market continued to put pressure on worker pay and benefits.
The rise, which matched the prior quarter's increase, was mostly in line with the expectation of economists polled by Reuters.
Wages and salaries, which make up about 70 percent of compensation, and benefits were both up 0.4 percent, the Labor Department said.
For all of 2010, compensation costs rose only 2.0 percent, the second slowest pace on record after compensation costs in 2009 rose just 1.4 percent, the slowest pace on records dating back to 1982.
(Reporting by Corbett B. Daly; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)