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Industry productivity trends

Conference presentation

The conference presentation, Industry productivity trends, was presented by Dean Parham from the Productivity Commission, at the Productivity Perspectives 2004 conference.


This presentation highlights industry contributions to aggregate productivity trends.

The main proximate factors influencing aggregate productivity trends over recent periods can be characterised as:

  • 1985 to 1989 — Slow productivity growth associated with stronger labour growth
  • 1989 to 1994 — Slow productivity growth associated with weaker output growth
  • 1994 to 1999 — Record high productivity growth associated with stronger output growth
  • 1999 to 2004 — Average productivity growth associated with steady output and input growth

However, there is a more diverse pattern of productivity growth and proximate factors at the industry sector level. Whilst some of the same aggregate patterns are evident, major contributions to aggregate productivity trends also come from apparently-independent industry-specific influences.

Indeed, the diversity of contributions from different industries at different times suggests that the industry foundations of aggregate productivity growth come from a broad and somewhat unpredictable base.

From a policy point of view, the findings suggest the potential importance of micro, as well as macro, settings. But they also suggest the potential importance of adopting approaches that have general, rather than industry-specific, application.

Associated material

Industry productivity trends
Slide Presentation PDF 0.4 MB
Slide Presentation PPT 0.4 MB

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