Labour productivity grows 0.5 percent

New Zealand’s labour productivity rose 0.5 percent in the year ended March 2019, Stats NZ said today.

Labour productivity measures the quantity of goods and services (output) produced per hour of labour.

“The latest figures showed workers produced 137 goods or services for each hour worked in 2019, compared with 100 an hour in 1996,” national accounts senior manager Ruvani Ratnayake said.

Market producers – a wide range of industries known as the ‘measured sector’ – increased the amount of labour they used by 3.0 percent (labour input) and increased their output by 3.5 percent in the March 2019 year.

Primary industries experienced the strongest labour productivity growth, rising 12 percent after falls in each of the previous two years. Primary industries include agriculture, forestry, fishing, and mining. Labour productivity in the primary industries has generally improved since 1996, as improvements in technology and management have allowed farms to produce more with less labour.

Labour productivity in the goods-producing and service industries declined 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Labour productivity is one of three major productivity measures produced – the other two are capital productivity and multifactor productivity.

Capital productivity saw a softer rise than labour productivity, growing 0.1 percent in the March 2019 year.

Multifactor productivity, which captures the effects of harder-to-measure changes such as technological progress, efficiency gains, and economies of scale, grew 0.3 percent.

Year ended March Measured sector Primary industries Goods-producing industries Service industries
1996 1000 1000 1000 1000
1997 1018 1153 1015 998
1998 1040 1201 1060 1005
1999 1054 1165 1070 1029
2000 1108 1138 1115 1099
2001 1123 1132 1117 1124
2002 1137 1098 1110 1161
2003 1156 1119 1153 1169
2004 1172 1225 1160 1178
2005 1191 1242 1160 1208
2006 1209 1340 1156 1229
2007 1216 1313 1159 1242
2008 1232 1359 1169 1258
2009 1217 1456 1118 1240
2010 1264 1518 1189 1271
2011 1269 1398 1205 1290
2012 1293 1502 1206 1311
2013 1306 1550 1217 1321
2014 1315 1506 1206 1347
2015 1331 1577 1206 1364
2016 1350 1624 1228 1381
2017 1356 1617 1230 1390
2018 1364 1545 1232 1413
2019 1371 1723 1225 1408

In theory, productivity measures should cover all industries in the economy. The industry coverage of these statistics includes only the ‘measured sector’ (that is, mainly market industries rather than, for example, non-market industries like education or healthcare). However, this still covers about 80 percent of industry’s contribution to New Zealand’s gross domestic product.

/Stats NZ Public Release. View in full here.