Labour productivity up in Q2 2023

But annual rate of productivity growth still down from long-term historical average, says BLS

Labour productivity up in Q2 2023

There was a rebound in the aspect of productivity in the second quarter of 2023, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Overall, Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased by 3.7% in the quarter.

This is due to an output increase of 2.4% and a decrease in hours worked of 1.3%.

“The decline in hours worked is the first decline since the second quarter of 2020 and was the result of a 1.3-percent decline in average weekly hours,” said the BLS.

The labor statistics bureau also revised the business sector productivity in the first quarter of the year to a decrease of 1.2 percent in the first quarter of this year. It earlier reported a decrease of 2.7% for that quarter.

BLS revised the output to an increase of 1.4 percent and hours worked were not revised (an increase of 3.0%).

The increase in productivity in Q2 put an end to five straight quarters of decreased productivity. However, productivity levels remain low when compared to historical data.

“During the current business cycle, starting in the fourth quarter of 2019, labor productivity has grown at an annualized rate of 1.4 percent, as output grew at a 2.0-percent per year rate, outpacing hours worked, which grew at a 0.7-percent annual rate,” said BLS.

“The 1.4-percent annual rate of productivity growth in the current business cycle thus far is below the long-term historical average rate since 1947 of 2.1 percent.”

Pay is the biggest factor that would motivate staff to be more productive at work, according to a previous report.

Factors affecting productivity

Upwork noted that the following factors affect workers’ productivity: 

  • work environment
  • work-life balance
  • technological advancements
  • employee health and well-being
  • remote work

And these the challenges to worker productivity, it said:

  • workplace distractions
  • burnout
  • lack of employee engagement and motivation
  • inefficient processes and procedures
  • poor management and leadership
  • large number of employees

To improve employee productivity, Aleksandra Masionis, associate director of content marketing at Achievers, suggested that employers do the following:

  1. Prioritize employee engagement.
  2. Provide recognition and rewards.
  3. Provide the right technology and tools.
  4. Educate leaders on how to empower employees.
  5. Improve employees’ work environment.
  6. Build a talent development program.
  7. Support work-life balance.
  8. Practice clear communication.

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