Factbook 2008 shows wide variations in productivity across OECD countries


08/04/2008 - Labour productivity has grown strongly in the Slovak Republic, Hungary and Korea in recent years while growth rates in some other OECD countries such as Italy, Mexico, Portugal and New Zealand have slowed markedly.

The differences can be clearly seen in OECD’s new Factbook 2008, an annual digest of economic, social and environmental statistics. Gross domestic product (GDP) per hour worked grew at above 4 percent a year on average between 2001 and 2006 in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Korea  and the Slovak Republic.

But average annual productivity growth was less than 1 percent in Italy, Mexico, Portugal, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Spain over the same period.

Labour productivity – how much is produced per hour worked – is a key measure of economic growth and competitiveness. It is the main factor behind cross-country differences in GDP per head over the long-run, say OECD economists.

Productivity is the special focus of the new Factbook which includes more than 160 major indicators overall. In addition to data for OECD countries, the latest edition provides a broad range of statistics for other major world economies such as India, China and Brazil. Among the topics covered are:

  • Population and migration trends
  • Economic growth rates, trade and globalisation
  • Prices, purchasing power and taxation
  • Energy supply and oil prices
  • Employment and unemployment rates and trends
  • Spending on research and development
  • Communication and internet access
  • Environmental indicators and trends
  • Government debt and public spending on education, health, law and order, defence, and infrastructure
  • Health and social issues

The Factbook is central to a long-term OECD programme on using statistics to measure and foster progress  in our societies. Identifying the most accurate and meaningful data is becoming an increasing challenge for policy-makers and citizens faced with the often bewildering mass of information available today.

An interactive version of the OECD Factbook 2008: Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics will be freely available online from 11.00 am Paris time on Tuesday 8 April at This site integrates the OECD’s StatLink service which enables you to download Excel versions of charts, tables and statistical annexes.

The Factbook is available in pdf format on the protected site for journalists. For further information, or to obtain a hard copy, journalists should contact the OECD Media Division (tel: + 33 1 45 24 97 00).

Non-journalists can purchase the pdf or print versions through the OECD's Online Bookshop.


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