Measuring Productivity




This seminar is designed for economists, statisticians, researchers, analysts, and managers engaged in productivity measurement in national statistical programs. Participants should have an elementary knowledge of statistics and some experience in analyzing labor or economic data.


To strengthen capabilities for the development and analysis of statistics on productivity by:

  • Presenting techniques for the compilation and application of productivity measurements for the total economy, major sectors, and individual industries
  • Demonstrating the value of output per hour measurements in deriving unit labor cost data for the analysis of the wage-price relationship by industry, major sector, and for the total economy; in economic growth projections; in labor mobility trends; and in workforce training
  • Demonstrating the value of multifactor productivity as an indicator of progress; an explanation of the growth of output per hour; and a way to relate and analyze the movements of the price of output and the prices of labor as well as other inputs
  • Discussing concerns of government, business, and labor organizations regarding productivity

Program content

Productivity is one of the major determinants of the standard of living, since increases in productivity may result in higher real income and promote price stability. The measurement of productivity is an important element in the evaluation of the relative efficiency of factor utilization domestically and internationally. The analysis of trends in productivity, especially labor productivity, is a factor in the successful examination of occupational mobility, the projection of future employment opportunities, and the determination of future workforce and training policies.

The seminar includes discussions on the following topics: 

Definitions and concepts

  • Output, inputs, prices and costs, index theory, and aggregation methods

Methodology for calculating output per hour and multifactor productivity measures

  • Output measurement including deflated value and physical quantity measures, input measurement, aggregation of heterogeneous outputs and inputs, index construction, and index linking

Sources of data

  • Various government and private sources (including discussion of poor or fragmentary data) for derivation of: output measures, input measures (including labor, capital, and intermediate purchases), and weights

Trend analysis

  • Changes in productivity, factor input shifts, and historical analysis

Application of trend measurements

  • Industry, major sector (including agriculture and government), and total economy

Use of output per hour measurement

  • Analysis of the wage-price relationship by industry, major sector, and for the total economy; economic growth projections, and workforce training

Use of multifactor productivity measurement

  • Analysis of the input cost-price relationship, the output per hour and multifactor productivity relationship, and the multifactor productivity and economic progress relationship

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Last modified: September 18, 2017