Labour productivity in information and communication services

Information and communication technologies (ICT) facilitate the processing, transmission and display of information, playing an increasingly important role in the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. ICT services enable firms in different industries to adopt new technologies and processes, and, as such, are an important driver of productivity growth.

Key findings

Labour productivity levels in information and communication services are generally higher than average levels in the total economy. In 2017, Costa Rica, Ireland and Mexico, showed labour productivity levels in information and communication services that were more than twice the total economy average but this is not universally true: in Australia, Luxembourg and New Zealand, for example, they were lower.

Like other sectors, however labour productivity growth has slowed in information and communication services, and this has been widespread, spanning nearly all sub-sectors, including publishing, audiovisual and broadcasting activities; telecommunications; information technology and other information services.

Definition

Labour productivity is calculated as the ratio between each sector’s value added and the total number of hours worked. For Japan, Korea, and the United States, in the absence of national accounts data on total hours worked in the information and communication services sector (ISIC Rev.4 category J), the total number of persons employed (employees and self-employed) is used as a measure of labour input. For Latvia, Mexico and the United States, in the absence of national accounts data on total hours worked in the sub-sectors of information and communication services, the total number of persons employed (employees and self-employed) is used as a measure of labour input.

Comparability

Volume estimates of value added in information and communication services are complicated by challenges in measuring output prices of the activities, and in particular, how these capture quality improvements associated with technological advances. The use of hedonic deflators is generally considered as the best way to address these problems. However, comparisons of price movements of ICT services point to significant differences in price measurement across countries (Ahmad et. al, 2017), which although not significantly impacting on whole economy productivity estimates can have an impact on more detailed sectoral analyses.

References

Ahmad, N., J. Ribarsky and M. Reinsdorf (2017), “Can potential mismeasurement of the digital economy explain the post-crisis slowdown in GDP and productivity growth?”, OECD Statistics Working Papers, No. 2017/09, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/a8e751b7-en.

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

Schreyer, P. (2002), “Computer prices indices and international growth and productivity comparisons”, Review of Income and Wealth, Number 1, Series 48.

Figure 3.6. Labour productivity in information and communication services, 2017
As a ratio of real gross value added per hour worked in the total economy
Figure 3.6. Labour productivity in information and communication services, 2017

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933968763

Figure 3.7. Labour productivity in information and communication services, selected sectors
Real gross value added per hour worked, percentage change at annual rate
Figure 3.7. Labour productivity in information and communication services, selected sectors

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933968782

End of the section – Back to iLibrary publication page