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Release of latest annual productivity statistics


Last week, Stats NZ released its latest annual set of productivity statistics.

27 February 2019

These go from 1978 to 2018 for the 11 industries in the “former measured sector” and from 1996 to 2018 for the 16 industries in the “measured sector”. (See statistics here)

The central figures are those for the measured sector (16 industries), which cover approximately 77.2% of gross domestic product. Separate figures are also published for health and education (accounting for around 11.4% of industry output). Stats NZ do not publish a figure for total economy productivity (this is estimated separately by the Treasury and the OECD). These data showed that:

  • While GDP in the measured sector grew 3.2%, labour productivity rose just 0.3% in the year ended 2018. Output growth was largely driven by input growth, with labour inputs contributing 1.6% and capital inputs contributing 1.3%. To put this labour productivity figure into context, in their Long Term Fiscal Model the Treasury assume an economy wide rate of productivity growth of 1.5%.
  • Labour productivity is one of the three major productivity measures that Statistics New Zealand produces. The other two are multifactor productivity and capital productivity. Both multifactor and capital productivity rose 0.3% for the year, which implies that the contribution of capital deepening to labour productivity must have been close to zero.
  • For the education industry, labour productivity fell by 3.2% in the year ended 2018. Labour inputs grew by 5.0% and output in the industry expanded by 1.4%.
  • For the health industry, labour productivity fell by 0.2% in the year ended 2018. Labour inputs grew by 4.4% and output in the industry expanded by 4.2%.

The Productivity Commission will be updating our 2013 paper Productivity by the Numbers with this and other more recent data, and we aim to update these estimates whenever Stats NZ release their annual productivity figures.