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New ONS article examines the productivity conundrum

Released: 24 August 2012 Download PDF

ONS has today published a new article looking at the different movements in GDP and employment since the beginning of the recent recession in 2008.

The article notes that the divergence between labour market and GDP figures has meant depressed recent productivity performance.  It identifies various known factors which may  help explain this experience, such as the fall in the number of people working full time and the rise in the number of people working part time.

The article also notes that reduced wage inflation will have made it cheaper for companies to keep staff on in anticipation of a future upturn, and firms’ relatively healthy cash flows may also have contributed.

However, such factors are not likely to explain the whole of the conundrum. Noting that other large European countries have experienced similar productivity performance, the article suggests other factors need further investigation – for example, the effects of the financial crisis and its aftermath on productive capacity.

ONS will organise a seminar in the autumn to contribute to and to help promote public discussion of these issues. 

Background notes

  1. To read a full copy of the article see: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/elmr/the-productivity-conundrum/interpreting-the-recent-behaviour-of-the-economy/art-interpreting-the-recent-behaviour-of-the-economy.html
  2. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the media office.
  3. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.
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  4. 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

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