Agriculture drives labour productivity since 2008 recession

Thursday 11 April 2013, 2:35PM
By Statistics New Zealand

During 2008–11, labour productivity in the agriculture industry increased 3.4 percent a year, Statistics New Zealand said today. Agriculture was the main contributor to labour productivity in the measured sector, which increased 0.5 percent.

"Agriculture output has increased across the 2008 to 2011 period, showing a recovery from the severe drought of 2008," national accounts manager Rachael Milicich said. "Throughout this period, labour inputs have shown little change, resulting in rising labour productivity for the industry."

Other industries that made a significant contribution to labour productivity were finance and insurance services, up 2.7 percent, and information media and telecommunications, up 4.3 percent.

Labour productivity measures the quantity of goods and services (output) produced for each hour of labour. Increases in labour productivity show that more output is produced by an industry for each hour of labour worked.

Multifactor productivity results for 2008–11 were varied. The total measured sector declined 0.9 percent.

Multifactor productivity declined 7.1 percent for the mining industry, and 5.9 percent for the administration and support services industry. This was offset by increases in agriculture, up 2.8 percent, and other services, up 1.1 percent. Other services include activities such as repair and maintenance of machinery and personal care.

Multifactor productivity measures how efficiently goods and services are produced in the economy. For example, agriculture outputs grew faster than the inputs (hours of labour, and capital, like land and buildings) used to produce them.

These industry productivity statistics underlie the measured sector productivity series, released 18 March 2013, and update the existing suite of industry productivity statistics.

Productivity estimates for the education and health industries are also available. Education and health industry productivity 1996–2011 presents the new industry productivity data for these industries.