WASHINGTON — U.S. productivity rebounded in the final three months of last year, helping to boost productivity growth for the year to the best showing in nearly a decade.

The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday that productivity grew at an annual rate of 1.4% in the October-December quarter, reversing the direction of a 0.2% drop during the third quarter.

For the year, productivity increased 1.7%, up from 1.3% advances in both 2017 and 2018. While a 1.7% rise in productivity is considered modest, it was the best annual showing since a 3.4% advance in 2010.

Labor costs rose 1.4% in the fourth quarter, a slowdown from a 2.5% jump in the third quarter. For the year, labor costs rose 2%, up from a 1.8% gain in 2018.

Productivity, a key factor needed to boost living standards, has been lagging for most of this record-long expansion, now in its 11th year. But economists believe there are some signs at least that productivity may finally be starting to improve.

The 1.7% annual gain in productivity has followed a long stretch of very weak gains that have left productivity growing at average annual rates of just 1.3% since 2007. That compares to gains that were double that at 2.7% from 2000 to 2007 when the country was benefiting from advances in computers and the internet.

Since 1947, productivity has averaged annual gains of 2.1%.

Donald Trump has pledged to boost overall economic growth, as measured by the gross domestic product, to double the 2% average during this elongated expansion.

However, he so far has failed to achieve that campaign pledge and in fact, GDP growth last year slowed to 2.3%, the most meager pace in three years. Economists say for Trump to achieve his goal for faster GDP growth, he will need to find ways to increase productivity.