Monday, January 06, 2020

0.3% - UK Statistic of the Decade via @guardian #Analytics

Just before Christmas, in an article entitled "Don’t glaze over. This statistic holds the key to UK prosperity" by Hetan Shah in the Guardian newspaper it was reported that "Productivity growth has fallen to 0.3% ", and that The Guardian had "named it the statistic of the decade". Shah writes that productivity in the past 10 years has been "truly terrible". Before the financial crisis productivity in the UK was growing at around 2% each year, but in the last decade that has slumped to an average growth of 0.3% a year. As Shah states - the end of decade report should be that the UK "must try harder".

When compared to Ireland, the UK's productivity is lower, as measured by "Nominal labour productivity per person" (Source: eurostat). Here's a plot of figures for 2010 - 2018 for both countries:

This shows that actual productivity in the UK has been static, while Ireland has recovered considerably since the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008. Figures for 2019 are not available on the eurostat site - the impact of all the political uncertainty of 2019 is not included.

What above tells us is that productivity in the UK has hardly changed at all over the past decade - it was the same in 2017 and 2018, after the 2016 Brexit referendum. Indeed it is not much changed since 2010 - long before a Brexit referendum was even proposed. Whats all this Brexit fuss about?

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