The anatomy of UK labour productivity: lessons from new and existing data sources

Publication date: 6 Feb 2019 | Publication type: National Institute Economic Review | Theme: Trade, Investment & Productivity | External Author(s): Wales, P | JEL Classification: J24, E24, D24 | Journal: National Institute Economic Review Issue 247 | Publisher: Sage Publications, London

The UK’s recent productivity performance has been strikingly weak. Output per hour worked, which increased by around 2.1 per cent per year in the decade leading up to the economic downturn, increased by just 0.2 per cent per year in the ten years following the global financial crisis. This paper presents three ‘stylised facts’ on the UK’s recent productivity performance through the lens of official statistics: the weakness of recent productivity growth; the ‘gap’ in productivity terms between the UK and other leading economies; and the large differences in productivity between businesses. It surveys recent work by ONS to help researchers and policy-makers to understand the UK’s productivity performance, including new experimental and official statistics, analysis and research. It concludes by drawing together the key findings of these new statistics, highlighting how further improvements might be made through the greater use of survey and administrative data.

Keyword tags: 
labour productivity
aggregate labour productivity
total factor
multifactor productivity