Productivity boost caused by lower number of hours worked per job and per worker, experts reveal


The UK has recorded a spike in productivity towards the end of 2017, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed, but the real cause seems to be a drop in the average number of hours worked per job and per worker, experts believe.

According to the ONS bulleting, the labour output per hour jumped by 0.7 per cent on the previous quarter, marking a second consecutive quarterly increase. However, output per worker and output per job rose by just 0.1 per cent between the third and fourth quarter, indicating that the average number of hours worked per job and per worker fell during the same period.

Growth in earning costs, and other labour costs, both continued to outpace productivity growth, resulting in unit labour cost growth moving from 1.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 to 2.1 per cent in the final quarter.

ONS deputy chief economist Richard Heys commented on the findings, saying that “This is a second successive quarter of strong productivity growth, although much of it comes from a fall in average hours worked. However, a weak start to [2017] means annual growth was only 1 per cent – half the historic average rate”

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