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Productivity growth since 1950

The chart shows productivity growth for various time periods. For 1950 to 1970 it was 2.5%; 1971 to 1990 was about 1.3%; 1991 to 2000 was 2.2%; and 2001 to 2014 was 2.1%.
U.S. growth in worker productivity was very high between 1950 and 1970. It then declined to lower levels in the 1970s and the 1980s. The late 1990s and early 2000s saw productivity rebound, but then productivity sagged a bit in the 2000s. Some think the productivity rebound of the late 1990s and early 2000s marks the start of a “new economy” built on higher productivity growth, but this cannot be determined until more time has passed. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

The “new economy” controversy

In recent years a controversy has been brewing among economists about the resurgence of U.S. productivity in the second half of the 1990s. One school of thought argues that the United States had developed a “new economy” based on the extraordinary advances in communications and information technology of the 1990s. The most optimistic proponents argue that it would generate higher average productivity growth for decades to come. The pessimists, on the other hand, argue that even five or ten years of stronger productivity growth does not prove that higher productivity will last for the long term. It is hard to infer anything about long-term productivity trends during the later part of the 2000s, because the steep recession of 2008–2009, with its sharp but not completely synchronized declines in output and employment, complicates any interpretation. While productivity growth was high in 2009 and 2010 (around 3%), it has slowed down since then.

Productivity growth is also closely linked to the average level of wages. Over time, the amount that firms are willing to pay workers will depend on the value of the output those workers produce. If a few employers tried to pay their workers less than what those workers produced, then those workers would receive offers of higher wages from other profit-seeking employers. If a few employers mistakenly paid their workers more than what those workers produced, those employers would soon end up with losses. In the long run, productivity per hour is the most important determinant of the average wage level in any economy. To learn how to compare economies in this regard, follow the steps in the following Work It Out feature.

Comparing the economies of two countries

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) tracks data on the annual growth rate of real GDP per hour worked. You can find these data on the OECD data webpage “Labour productivity growth in the total economy” at this website.

Step 1. Visit the OECD website given above and select two countries to compare.

Step 2. On the drop-down menu “Variable,” select “Real GDP, Annual Growth, in percent” and record the data for the countries you have chosen for the five most recent years.

Step 3. Go back to the drop-down menu and select “Real GDP per Hour Worked, Annual Growth Rate, in percent” and select data for the same years for which you selected GDP data.

Step 4. Compare real GDP growth for both countries. [link] provides an example of a comparison between Australia and Belgium.

Australia 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Real GDP Growth (%) 0.1% 1.0% 2.2% 0.8 0.7%
Real GDP Growth/Hours Worked (%) 1.9% –0.3% 2.4% 3.3% 1.4%
Belgium 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Real GDP Growth (%) –3.4 1.6 0.8 –0.6 –0.2
Real GDP Growth/Hours Worked (%) –1.3 –1.4 –0.5 –0.3 0.3

Step 5. Consider the many factors can affect growth. For example, one factor that may have affected Australia is its isolation from Europe, which may have insulated the country from the effects of the global recession. In Belgium’s case, the global recession seems to have had an impact on both GDP and real GDP per hours worked between 2009 and 2013, though productivity does seem to be recovering.

Questions & Answers

the is the situation in which the need of individuals exceed the available resource. increase in population rate and wrong decision making
esther Reply
what is the different between wants and demand?
wants are what people desire to have but they can live without them and demand is a thing that is most wanted
what are the demand pull inflation
the higher the aggregate level of activity, the larger the proportion of areas and industries which experience excess demand for goods and labour of various sorts , and the more powerful is demand-inflationary pressure . Demand inflation is contrasted with cost inflation , in which price and wage
increases are transmitted from one sector to another. These should be regarded as different aspects of an overal inflation starts , cost inflation explains why inflation once begun is so difficult to stop.
what is the important difference between positive and normative economics
positive economics is the study of how an economy works in practice, as opposed to the theoretical study of how it should run in theory and normative economics is the party of economics that is concerned with how the economy ought to be run.
positive economic deal with fact and also talks about how the economy actually is like while normative economic deal with value judgement and talks about how the economy ought to be like
importance of economic
Zakaria Reply
satisfaction of human wants
economics is about to economise . discuss
Angel Reply
Underlines the efficiency aspect. Economise towards what: Economise factors to reach equal distribution of Material wealth or Just to operate optimally to Service demand, i. e. Run markets efficiently?
join the conversation
abba Reply
what is terms of trade
Ibrahim Reply
different btn import and export
No question... This is nice
Gbenga Reply
hw can we solve problem of scarcity
scarcity is not necessarily a problem but a constant condition of the world. there are not enough resources to satisfy the unlimited wants.
wee need to be cooperative
by unlimited resourses and abundant want
why do compute GDP?
steven Reply
can anyone shortly determine the word inflation.
Ibrahim Reply
Continous increase in the general level of prices or in the cost of living.
persistent increased in general price level
all correct...
the father of economics
Reuben Reply
Adem smith
Adem smith
Adem smith sure
the father of economic regarding to adam Smith
the father of political of economic and capitalism in his book and inquary in to the wealth of the nation.
Adam Smith his the father of economic
difference between injection and leakage
what is monopoly
Monopoly is a market structure where there is one firm who dominate the industry
hi,, I am new here. please welcome me.
you are welcome
monopoly is the one characterized by a mkt power in which a firm is a price maker
Some member just ask questions but not answering so y this happen
Monopoly is a market where only one seller exists. No competition
how long does the patent right prevail the monopoly
no attempt
what is state farming
anybody to attempt
different types of price elasticity of demand with the aid of graphs
Tshepo Reply
what about mean median and mode
Dike Reply
mode is the most occurred number and median is the middle digit
the mean is the sum of all the data divided by the number eg: 2+4+4+5+3+5+1 =24÷7
what is exchange rate
thanks guys
What is Equilibrium?
that when supply equals demand. that's where the supply curve and the demand curve intercept.
equilibrium is when the both side of the price is balanced
Thanks Asuquo Agwuu
what is paradox Of drift
doris Reply
it's thrift not drift
so what is it sir
what are the causes of unemployment
Afful Reply
lack of job in the rural areas
High level of illiteracy
Unfulfilled government promises
this one no be problem waii
low rate of industrialisation
elements of economic
Muhammad Reply
Supply demand consumer and money.
please would you explain further about short run and long run
Doris Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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