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Productivity: Key Economic Indicators

Published Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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 Q2 2017 was still 0.5% below what it was over nine years earlier in Q4 2007 (the pre-recession peak level).

Productivity across the whole UK economy decreased by 0.1% in Q2 2017 compared with the previous quarter, and also decreased by 0.1% compared with a year before in Q2 2016 (data based on first ‘flash’ ONS estimates). This follows a fall of 0.5% in Q1 2017 compared with the previous quarter

International comparisons

In 2015, ranked on GDP per hour, the UK came fifth highest out of the G7 countries, with Germany top and Japan bottom. UK productivity was 19 percentage points below the average of the rest of the G7 countries, the same gap as in 2014 and the largest since at least 1995 (when the ONS data series began).

G7 productivity comparisons


Commons Briefing papers SN02791

Author: Daniel Harari

Topics: Economic situation, Employment

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