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:

  • Productivity and the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Cross-country comparisons of labour productivity levels

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

  • Industry contributions to aggregate labour productivity growth

  • 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, unit labour costs 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 in all Chapters, and additionally, whenever possible, for non-OECD G20 economies.

It covers the period 1970-2021 in most Chapters, with breakdowns between 2000-2007 and 2010-2019 to visualise the slowdown in GDP and productivity growth, and data points for the years 2020 and 2021 to illustrate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Chapter 7 on Labour income and productivity includes data since 1990 whenever possible.

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.


This work is published under the responsibility of the Secretary-General of the OECD. The opinions expressed and arguments employed herein do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Member countries of the OECD.

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area.

The statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law.

Photo credits: Cover © - Yuri A/Shutterstock

Corrigenda to publications may be found on line at:

© OECD 2023

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at