British workers clocked no improvement in the amount of goods and services they can produce per hour over the last year, official statistics released today show.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), output per hour worked in the three months to December last year was no different compared to the same period in 2021.
The numbers indicate the UK’s long-running trend of sluggish productivity growth since the global financial crisis of 2008 is poised to carry on.
Workers did register some improvement to their output per hour capacity when compared to the period before the Covid-19 pandemic, with productivity up a little over two per cent compared to the final quarter of 2019.
City workers pegged back supply growth over the last year.
Construction staff notched the biggest gains, adding 0.7 percentage points to the total.
The ONS calculates productivity growth by measuring changes in gross value added and hours worked in the UK economy. It said the former improved just 0.5 per cent over the last year, which was offset by the latter jumping 0.6 per cent.
Economists pinpoint productivity growth as the key factor to boosting long-term living standards. All else equal, it should lift workers’ incomes without stoking inflation and expand the supply of goods and services without eating up more resources.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, the rich world has suffered a marked slowdown in productivity growth that has choked economic expansion, with the UK often cited as being hamstrung by one of the sharpest productivity decelerations among the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of rich countries.
“Output per worker and output per job were 0.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent below their respective quarter 4 2021 levels,” the stats agency calculated.