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Guide to Labour Productivity

Released: 14 November 2012 Download PDF

Abstract

Productivity measures are essential in assessing the efficiency, competitiveness and underlying ‘potential’ rate of growth of an economy. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) headline productivity measure is output per worker, but other key published productivity measures are output per filled job, output per hour worked and unit labour costs. The first three of these measures are based on the amount of real (inflation adjusted) economic output per unit of labour input, while unit labour costs are based on the labour cost of producing a unit of output.

More detail

Productivity measures are essential in assessing the efficiency, competitiveness and underlying ‘potential’ rate of growth of an economy. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) headline productivity measure is output per worker, but other key published productivity measures are output per filled job, output per hour worked and unit labour costs. The first three of these measures are based on the amount of real (inflation adjusted) economic output per unit of labour input, while unit labour costs are based on the labour cost of producing a unit of output.

Productivity measures are published for the whole economy, the manufacturing and production sectors, the service sector, and more detailed industrial sector level, notably for manufacturing. Market sector productivity is also published.

Productivity indicators are also published at the regional level and in comparison with other countries. ONS also publish experimental series and related articles on multifactor productivity, and the necessary components of capital services and quality adjusted labour input (QALI).

UK productivity series are calculated using:

  • Gross Value Added (GVA) from the National Accounts

  • worker, jobs and hours data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), and

  • Reporting Unit (RU) based employee jobs data at industry level from the Workforce Jobs estimates (WFJ) constrained to LFS total employee jobs

Nominal regional productivity estimates are produced annually, and are at the former Government Office Region level. They are published in the Labour Productivity Statistical Bulletin once a year.

International Comparisons of Productivity (ICP) in current and constant prices are produced and published by ONS, but are based on OECD macroeconomic data and Eurostat and OECD Purchasing Power Parities (a form of exchange rate), which are used to convert international data to a consistent basis. ONS base the current price comparisons around the UK, so that other counties’ productivity levels in relation to the UK equal 100. Constant price productivity is indexed to a common year for all countries and the G7 aggregate.

Background notes

  1. Enquiries relating to labour market statistics should be directed to Richard Clegg, Labour Market Division, Office for National Statistics.

    Phone +44 (0)1633 455400

    Email labour.market@ons.gsi.gov.uk

  2. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Supporting information

Further information

Interpreting Labour Market Statistics - The purpose of this article is to help users of labour market statistics interpret the statistics and highlight some common misunderstandings.
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