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Productivity: Key Economic Indicators

Published Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Latest statistics showing changes in UK productivity and comparisons of UK productivity with other G7 countries.

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One of the most important factors in determining living standards is productivity – how much output is produced for a given input (such as an hour of work).

The more efficient the economy is, the more that can be produced in a sustainable fashion. In other words, higher productivity growth leads to a higher long-term growth rate of the economy.

Economic theory states that labour productivity also determines wages: the more productive an employee is, the more they are likely to be paid.

UK productivity

Historically, UK labour productivity has grown by around 2% per year but since the 2008/2009 recession it has stagnated. The level of labour productivity in Q1 2018 was 1.3% above what it was over 10 years earlier in Q4 2007 (the pre-recession peak level).

UK productivity level

Productivity decreased by 0.5% in Q1 2018 compared with the previous quarter (based on initial ‘flash’ estimates). This reversal followed two consecutive quarters of strong growth. Compared with the previous year, productivity was up by 1.0% in Q1 2018.

International comparisons

In 2016, ranked on GDP per hour worked, the UK came fifth highest out of the G7 countries, with Germany top and Japan bottom. UK productivity was 16% below the average of the rest of the G7 countries, the largest since at least 1995 (when the ONS data series began).


Commons Briefing papers SN02791

Author: Daniel Harari

Topics: Economic situation, Employment

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