UK productivity drops at fastest rate since records began

Posted by Carolina Plugaru on

Empty restaurant in London, United Kingdom

(Source: People Management)

Productivity fell at its fastest rate since records began during lockdown, official figures show, as millions of people stopped working and economic activity dropped.

Labour productivity, measured by output per hour, fell by 2.5 per cent between April and June, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This was a two-fold decrease in productivity compared to the 1.3 % fall recorded in the first three months of the year, and it was the sharpest fall in productivity since records began in 1991. 

During the same period, output per worker – measured as the total output divided by the number of workers employed – fell to -22% : a drop of 19.9 %compared to the first quarter of 2020 (-3.1 %). The ONS said the large disparity between the output per hour and output per worker figures was largely because of the government’s furlough scheme, which left millions of workers employed and on payrolls but working zero hours.

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