atans1

What is producivity? Why low productivity?

In Economy on 07/01/2018 at 4:31 am

The PAP administration KPKBing that low productivity means wages cannot rise (Btw, skip to the end if u want to read something that disses the PAP administration). And low productivity is a global probem, not unique to S’pore.

But what is productivity?

Until 10 years ago, productivity was the motor that drove economic growth. Its definition is nothing more complicated than the amount we produce per worker (or per hour).

If you’re a coffee shop worker, it’s the amount of coffees, tea and food each worker sells. On a pie-making production line, it’s how many pies you turn out. If you’re a lorry driver, it’s how much you deliver.

Now think of that lorry driver stuck in a traffic jam. With too little investment in new roads and too many cars and lorries using them, his trips are slower. However hard he works, he can’t keep delivering more than before. His productivity stalls.

One reason is weak business investment. A company trying to meet an expanding order book can try one of two methods: hire a few more people, or make its existing workforce more productive by investing in new, more efficient technology. As long as its cheaper and less risky to hire cheap labour, the business may hold off investment.

But weaker private investment – and private investment has in any case been growing recently – can’t account for the whole effect.

Another attempted explanation is weak training and poor infrastructure, another is weak spending on research and development – all of which play a role but none of which can explain in full the breakdown of what is normally the engine of economic growth.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-42012388

Reasons for low productivity

One of the great economic puzzles of recent years has been the slowdown in productivity growth across Western nations. There are many potential explanations for this: the continued survival of zombie companies in a low-rate era; mismeasurement of the gains from technology; new tech being less significant than older innovations (the Robert Gordon thesis); a preference among businesses to use extra labour when wages are low. And so on.

FT

Re “a preference among businesses to use extra labour when wages are low”, taz what is happening here. Despite the recent restrictions, FTs still coming in. Only by the A380 cargo load, not the cattle truck load, as before. Remember that official productivity figures account for the cash value of output produced, divided by the number of workers.

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