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Summary of the ONS international comparisons of productivity 2014

Output per hour in the UK was 18 percentage points below the average for the rest of the major G7 advanced economies in 2014, the widest productivity gap since comparable estimates began in 1991. On an output per worker basis, UK productivity was 19 percentage points below the average for the rest of the G7 in 2014.

• Across the G7 as a whole, labour productivity as measured by real (inflation adjusted) output per hour and output per worker grew modestly in 2014. Output per hour was lower in all G7 countries in 2014 than would have been the case if pre-downturn trends had continued since 2007. The UK’s “productivity gap” of about 14% is about twice as large as the gap for the rest of the G7.

• Revisions to source data have led to extensive revision since the last release, including upward revisions to productivity estimates for Germany and downward revisions to US productivity. 

• This release also includes productivity comparisons with some of the UK’s major trading partners outside the G7. In 2014, UK output per hour was 5 percentage points lower than Spain and considerably lower than productivity in Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands.

• For the first time this release includes indicative productivity comparisons for sub-sectors of the economy between the UK, the US, Germany, France and Italy. These comparisons employ the same methodology as the estimates for the whole economy, but are not wholly consistent with the whole economy estimates.

• The results show that UK labour productivity trails behind the US in all sub-sectors and particularly in manufacturing. Comparisons with other European countries are more mixed. For manufacturing, UK output per hour is estimated to be above that of Italy, and UK output per worker is a little higher than equivalent estimates for Germany and France.

• In financial services, the UK’s comparative productivity has deteriorated sharply since 2009 and trails France and Italy as well as the US. For private non-financial services (easily the largestcomponent), the UK’s comparative productivity has also deteriorated since 2009 and UK output per hour trails well behind France, Germany and the US.