Where do productivity gains come from?

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

Where have the recent gains in US worker productivity come from?

What percentages do you think are from increased computerization and/or automation, innovative accounting practices, improved logistics (shipping, inventory control, etc.,) or increased coercion of salaried workers to work unpaid overtime and forfiet allotted vacation/holiday time?

(coercion may be overt, i.e. threaten loss of job, or indirect, i.e. threaten advancement)

Most of productivity gains come from automation in manufacturing. Consider this: in 1962, the U.S. manufacturing sector produced 16.8% of the U.S. GDP and employed 27.7% of non-farm workforce. In 2002, manufacturing produced 16.1% of the U.S. GDP, but employed only 11.5% of non-farm workforce. Over this period, the real GDP in the U.S. grew 3.7 times, while manufacturing output grew more than eightfold. If I am doing the math correctly, it means that productivity in manufacturing was growing almost two percentage points a year faster than productivity in the rest of the economy…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *