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The Industrial Revolution could shed light on modern productivity

The Industrial Revolution could shed light on modern productivity

Finance
HOW much yarn per day could an 18th-century British woman spin? Such questions are catnip for economic historians, whose debates typically unfold unnoticed by anyone outside their field. But a running debate concerning the productivity of pre-industrial spinners, and related questions, is spilling beyond academia. Each probably produced between a quarter of a pound and a pound of yarn a day, the historians have concluded. But at issue is something much more profound: a disagreement regarding the nature of technological progress that has important implications for the world economy.Economic growth of the sort familiar today is a staggering departure from the pattern of pre-industrial human history. More than a century of study has not resolved the question of why it began where and when it ...
New industrial strategy to tackle productivity

New industrial strategy to tackle productivity

Business
A new industrial strategy is to be revealed by the Government later, aiming to tackle Britain's "weakness" of productivity.Business Secretary Greg Clark said workforce efficiency was "well below what can be achieved" and pledged to address the crisis threatening to "stop us achieving our potential".Britain ranks fifth out of G7 industrial nations, behind Canada and Japan, on productivity.Mr Clark said the country should "seize" the benefits of a "new industrial revolution".He added: "This would be needed at any time, and Britain's decision to leave the European Union makes it even more important."Image:Greg Clark pledged to tackle Britain's productiviy 'weakness'The announcement includes news of a major pharmaceutical company opening a "world-leading" life-sciences campus in northwest Engl...
UK productivity falls to pre-crisis level

UK productivity falls to pre-crisis level

Business
The productivity of UK workers has dropped back to pre-financial crisis levels, according to official figures.Hourly output fell 0.5% in the first three months of the year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.At the end of 2016, productivity returned to the level seen before the downturn, overturning years of decline which has weighed on wages.But it has now slipped back again and is 0.4% below the peak recorded at the end of 2007, according to the ONS.Economists have warned that the UK's productivity continues to lag behind its major trading partners such as the US, France and Germany.ONS head of productivity Philip Wales said: "UK labour productivity growth has struggled since the 2008 economic downturn, and the fall in the first quarter of 2017 brings to an end a recent run of...