House of Commons Library

Productivity: Key Economic Indicators

Published Tuesday, August 14, 2018

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

Jump to full report >>

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 2018 was 1.9% above what it was over 10 years earlier in Q4 2007 (the pre-recession peak level).

UK productivity levels

Productivity increased by 0.4% in Q2 2018 compared with the previous quarter, following a decline in the previous quarter. Compared with a year ago, productivity was up by 1.5% in Q2 2018 - the highest annual rate of productivity growth since Q4 2016.

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

Share this page