Reader’s guide

“Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything” (Paul Krugman, 1994).

Productivity is commonly defined as a ratio between the volume of output and the volume of inputs. In other words, it measures how efficiently production inputs, such as labour and capital, are being used in an economy to produce a given level of output. Productivity is a key source of economic growth and competitiveness and, as such, internationally comparable indicators of productivity are central for assessing economic performance.

The OECD Compendium of Productivity Indicators examines recent and long-term trends in productivity, providing insights on:

  • Insights on productivity developments in 2023 based on experimental estimates

  • Cross-country comparisons of labour productivity levels

  • Contributions of labour and capital inputs, and multifactor productivity, to economic growth

  • Sectoral reallocations of hours worked

  • Productivity in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large firms

  • Evolution and composition of investment

  • Changes in labour income and productivity growth

Most of the indicators presented in this publication are drawn from the OECD Productivity Statistics Database, which provides a consistent set of annual estimates of labour, capital and multifactor productivity growth and other related indicators to analyse the drivers of economic growth in OECD member countries and G20 economies. The database includes the following indicators:

  • GDP per capita and labour productivity levels

  • Labour productivity growth

  • Measures of labour input, such as total hours worked and total employment

  • Measures of capital input, as an aggregate and by type of asset

  • Multifactor productivity growth

The OECD Compendium of Productivity Indicators includes data for OECD countries, and, whenever possible, for non-OECD G20 economies.

It covers the period 1995-2022 in most chapters, with breakdowns between 2000-2007 and 2010-2019 to visualise the slowdown in GDP and productivity growth. Chapter 6 on Productivity in SMEs and large firms includes data since 1990 whenever possible. The findings in this publication are based on data as of 8 February 2024.

Throughout this publication, all breakdowns by industry follow the International Standard Industry Classification of all Economic Activities (ISIC). Indicators by industry are presented according to its latest version, ISIC Rev.4, or the European equivalent, NACE Rev.2 (Nomenclature statistique des Activités Économiques dans la Communauté Européenne).

References and further reading

Krugman, P. (1994), The Age of Diminished Expectations, Revised and Updated Edition, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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