The UK economy is growing but productivity isn’t!


What is the Productivity Puzzle?

It is very encouraging that the UK is seeing strong economic growth. In 2014, GDP has risen to above pre-financial crisis levels and growth rates are in excess of 3% over 2013 figures. However, Britain’s workforce is still struggling with low productivity and GDP per head is poor. UK government figures show the UK’s output per worker is lower than the G7 average and, according to the Conference Board 2014 Productivity Brief, only 76% of that of the USA.

Various reasons have been tabled as to why the UK is in this situation. For example, it has been suggested that banking has become inefficient because of the plethora of new regulations, airlines have had to deal with increased security levels and new reserves for the Oil and Gas industry are more and more inaccessible. But, if these examples are true, then why are other nations not suffering with similar productivity issues to the UK? On the other hand, perhaps poor productivity in the UK is nothing less than a cumulative lack of investment in infrastructure and skills training over previous decades.

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