The Great Stagnation spreads

Chris Giles and Sam Fleming at the FT report:

Output per worker grew last year at its slowest rate since the millennium, with a slowdown evident in almost all regions, underscoring how the problem of lower productivity growth is now taking on global proportions.

The Conference Board, a think-tank, said that based on official data on output and employment from most countries, only India and sub-Saharan Africa enjoyed faster labour productivity growth last year.

Globally, the rate of growth decelerated to 2.1 per cent in 2014, compared with an annual average of 2.6 per cent between 1999 and 2006, it said.

…Bart van Ark, the Conference Board’s chief economist, said total factor productivity, which takes account of skill levels and investment as well as the number of workers, fell 0.2 per cent in 2014. “This is a global phenomenon and so we have to take it very seriously,” he said.

Economists are increasingly identifying the problem of low global productivity as one of the greatest threats to improved living standards, in rich and poor countries alike.

As you may know, I am on record as predicting that the great stagnation will end, but so far it doesn’t seem like it is happening.


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