Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Productivity: Simple Concept, Complex Issues

At the end of a workday do you sometimes say, "I wasn't very productive today; I had too many interruptions"? You are using a term - productivity - that has not only a common meaning but also an official definition. When we are productive in our job, or when an industry is more productive, it's a good thing. When the U.S. economy is more productive, it raises our standard of living.

Official productivity statistics are compiled and published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). They have two measures of productivity: labor and multi-factor.

These measures show that the manufactuing sector in the U.S. has historically been more productive than the economy as a whole, with particularly rapid gains in the creation of nondurable goods like computers or wood products.

In 2008, the United States had the highest level of productivity of all the countries measured by The Conference Board.

There are some issues surrounding exactly how productivity growth affects wages and jobs. The issues include data measurement problems and job loss.

Want to know more about exactly how productivity is measured, how the U.S. stacks up against other countires, and what some of the issues are? Check out the full article by Pam Ferrara.

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