Europe’s Productivity Growth May Outpace U.S. in 2011

U.S. productivity will grow more slowly than Europe’s in 2011 as more Americans find work, according to estimates by the Conference Board that show last year’s rebound in global efficiency will maintain momentum.

Labor-productivity growth, as measured by output per hour, will average 1.1 percent in the U.S. this year compared with 2.8 percent in 2010, the New York-based research group said in a report published today. The euro area’s rate will slip to 1.3 percent from 1.6 percent.

“U.S. productivity growth will be tempered briefly in 2011 as employment recovers from its major recession cutbacks, but that’s temporary,” said Bart van Ark, chief economist at the Conference Board. “The underlying productivity growth trend in the United States remains stronger than in Europe.”

Worldwide output per worker will rise an average 2.9 percent this year, just below the 3.3 percent gain of 2010 that was a snap-back from the 1.2 percent slump of 2009, the report showed.

“Global productivity growth has recovered remarkably well following the economic and financial crisis,” Van Ark said. The long-term trends in world productivity are still weak, the group said.

Among emerging markets, China and India remained the most dynamic economies with productivity growth of 8.7 percent and 5.4 percent respectively last year. Brazil led advances in Latin America.

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