Global Productivity Growth Slowdown Extends to 2012, Board Says

Global productivity growth slowed in 2011 and may lose further momentum in 2012, led by weak growth in advanced economies, according to estimates from the Conference Board.

Labour productivity expanded 2.5 percent worldwide compared with 3.6 percent in 2010 as output growth faded and average employment gains were little changed, the New York-based research group said in a report today.

The U.S. productivity growth rate fell to 0.6 percent from 2.7 percent in 2010, while that of the euro area dropped to 1.2 percent from 1.8 percent. The weakness may continue into this year and limit global economic growth and hiring, said Bart van Ark, chief economist the Conference Board.

“Productivity remains the key driver of growth worldwide,” he said. “This is especially true during times of austerity.”

The board said it expects further slowing in labor-productivity growth, when measured by the change in output per person employed, to 2.3 percent this year, with the productivity of advanced regions growing an average of 1.2 percent.

Productivity growth slowed in emerging nations last year to 4.7 percent from 5.5 percent, the report said. China’s productivity growth was 8.8 percent, down from 10 percent.

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