Wages and benefits paid to U.S. civilian workers grew at a steady pace in the fourth quarter.

The Labor Department says total compensation rose 0.5 percent from October through December, a tad slower than 0.6 percent growth in the July-September period. Wages and salaries increased 0.5 percent, benefits 0.4 percent.

In the 12 months that ended Dec. 31, compensation increased 2.2 percent, up from an annual gain of 2 percent a year earlier.

Wages and salaries, which account for 70 percent of compensation, were up 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, and benefits rose 2.1 percent.