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Release: Micro-data Perspectives on the UK Productivity Conundrum , January 2013

Released: 16 January 2013


Mark Franklin

Office of the Chief Economic Adviser

Telephone: +44 (0)1633 455981

Categories: Economy, Prices, Output and Productivity, Productivity Measures, International Comparison of Productivity, Business and Energy, Businesses, Structure of Businesses

Frequency of release: Ad-hoc

Language: English

Geographical coverage: UK

Geographical breakdown: UK

  • This article uses firm-level micro-data to throw new light on UK productivity up to 2009. We find that recent productivity performance has generally been stronger among larger firms and those that are domestically-owned than among smaller firms or those that are foreign owned. In 2009, productivity was weaker among exporting firms in the manufacturing sector than non-exporters, while in services, exporters' productivity fell sharply but remained well above that of firms exposed only to the UK market. Productivity also fell sharply in 2009 among service sector firms with a track record of rapid growth in previous years. High levels of ICT adoption are associated with better productivity performance in all sectors.

  • Analysis of the distribution of productivity across firms shows a widening in distributions in 2008 and 2009: high productivity firms became more productive, while low productivity firms became less productive (in some cases negatively productive). This suggests a weakening in competitive pressures to weed-out less productive firms, especially in the service sector.

  • A Productivity Statistics User Group meeting is being arranged in London in February 2013. For more information please contact

Key findings from an innovative database of linked micro (firm-level) data.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.