Growth in GDP per capita

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita measures economic activity or income per person and is one of the core indicators of economic performance. Growth in GDP per capita can result from changes in labour productivity (GDP per hour worked) and labour utilisation (hours worked per capita). A slowing or declining rate of labour utilisation combined with high labour productivity growth can be indicative of a greater use of capital and/or of structural shifts to higher-productivity activities.

Key findings

Differences in GDP per capita growth across countries can be mainly attributed to differences in labour productivity growth. While labour productivity growth remains a significant driver of growth, it has slowed across the board in recent years. In Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Lithuania, New Zealand, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, in particular, increased labour utilisation rates were significant drivers of growth. In many other countries, including some large European economies, growth in labour utilisation rates slowed considerably, and in many, labour utilisation rates fell.

Definition

Growth in GDP per capita is calculated using GDP and population series published in the OECD National Accounts Statistics (database). Labour productivity is measured as GDP per hour worked and labour utilisation as hours worked per capita. Total hours worked are primarily sourced from the OECD National Accounts Statistics (database). For some countries, however, longer time series and/or more recent estimates need to be derived from the OECD Employment and Labour Market Statistics (database), the OECD Economic Outlook: Statistics and Projections (database) and national statistical offices (Chapter 8. ).

Comparability

Most countries derive annual estimates of real GDP using annually chain-linked volume indices. However, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa currently produce fixed-base volume estimates with the base year updated less periodically. The System of National Accounts 2008 (2008 SNA) recommends the production of estimates on the basis of annual chain volume series. These produce better estimates of growth as the weights used for the contribution of different goods and services are more relevant to the period in question.

References

OECD Economic Outlook: Statistics and Projections (database), http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/eo-data-en.

OECD Employment and Labour Market Statistics (database), http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/lfs-data-en.

OECD National Accounts Statistics (database), http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/na-data-en.

OECD Productivity Statistics (database), http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/pdtvy-data-en.

OECD (2001), Measuring Productivity – OECD Manual, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264194519-en.

Figure 2.4. Contributions to growth in GDP per capita
Total economy, percentage change at annual rate
Figure 2.4. Contributions to growth in GDP per capita

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933968326

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