U.K. Productivity Unchanged, Ending Six Quarters of Declines

U.K. productivity was unchanged in the first three months of the year, ending six straight quarters of decline, according to a report today.

Services productivity, measured by output per hour, rose 0.3 percent in the quarter, while manufacturing productivity fell 0.4 percent, the Office for National Statistics said in London today. Total productivity last increased in the second quarter of 2011. Productivity as measured by output per worker rose 0.3 percent in the first quarter, according to the ONS.

The report also showed that unit labor costs fell 0.4 percent in the January-March period from the previous quarter and were 0.5 percent lower compared with the same period a year earlier. That’s the first annual decline since 2010.

Separately, the ONS said Britain’s services industries expanded in April. Services, which account for about three quarters of the economy, increased 0.2 percent from the previous month and were up 2 percent compared with a year earlier. In the three months through April, services rose 0.8 percent from the previous quarter.

The ONS also said that services grew 0.5 percent in the first quarter, less than the 0.6 percent previously estimated. That revision was taken into account in the third estimate of gross domestic product, published yesterday.

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