UK productivity continues to fall

Labour productivity, as measured by output per hour, was down 0.2 percent in Q1 2019, when compared to the same quarter in 2018, according to Office of National Statistic (ONS) figures. These findings make Q1 the third consecutive quarter of contraction for UK productivity.According to the ONS, this sustained period of declining labour productivity represents a continuation of the UK’s ‘productivity puzzle’, with productivity since the economic downturn in 2008 growing more slowly than during the long period prior.

Despite occasional periods of growth, this sustained general pattern contrasts with patterns following previous UK economic downturns, when productivity initially fell, but subsequently recovered and returned to the previous trend rate of growth. However, movements in productivity were found to vary between industries, with the services industry recording labour productivity growth of 0.2 percent, while manufacturing productivity growth reduced by 0.9 percent, compared with the same quarter in the previous year.