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Labour productivity in the 3rd quarter of 2018 (July to September, 2018) as measured by output per hour - grew by just 0.2% compared with the equivalent quarter in 2017 - according to figures released by the ONS.
This is just 10% of the growth levels (of 2%) prior to the financial crash, and provides further confimation of the UK's productivity 'puzzle'.
While productivity in the manufacuring sector rose, negative growth in the 'non-market' service sector pulled the average down, with public sector productivity faring the worst.
Public sector productivity has now fallen for the last four quarters. The ONS comments that productivity growth in the 'market' sector over the last 10 years has been driven largely by improved labour skills and 'capital deepening'. However, opportunities to apply new technology to the UK's large service sector are much more limited than for the manufacturing sector.
With Brexit uncertainty likely to have a significant negative influence on investment decisions in the manufacturing sector, it is likely that these relatively low productivity numbers for the whole economy will continue.
Labour productivity using the ONS’s headline measure of output per hour, rose by 0.9% in the third quarter of 2017 (July to September, 2017). This means that productivity is now 1.7% higher than the pre-downturn peak.
The productivity puzzle continues Labour productivity using the ONS’s headline measure of output per hour, fell by 0.1% in the second quarter of 2017 (April to June, 2017). This means that productivity is still below the level reached in the period immediately before the economic downturn.
Productivity – as measured by output per hour – fell by around 0.5% in the first quarter of 2017, taking it back below its peak level of 2007, according to figures released by the ONS. The poor figures are seen as further evidence of the UK's 'productivity puzzle'.
UK productivity (as measured by output per hour) is estimated to have grown by 0.4% between the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2016, according to figures release by the ONS (Jan 6th 2016). Despite the growth, there remains a ‘productivity puzzle’, with growth in productivity lower than before the economic downturn. The overall growth figures also hide the problem of poor manufacturing productivity, which fell by 0.2%, masked only by rising productivity in the service sector.
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