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Is the recent productivity boom over?

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  • Daniel J. Wilson

Abstract

Productivity growth has been quite strong over the past 2½ years, despite a drop in the second quarter of 2010. Many analysts believe that productivity growth must slow sharply in order for the labor market to recover robustly. However, looking at the observable factors underlying recent productivity growth and the patterns of productivity over past recessions and recoveries, a sharp slowdown appears unlikely. ; This Economic Letter examines the risks to this forecast, first looking at how productivity growth has fared in past recessions and recoveries. Then it considers where recent gains have come from. For example, do they reflect more physical capital relative to labor hours, increases in labor quality, or efficiency gains? The findings suggest that productivity growth for the next year or so might very well exceed forecaster expectations, which would put a damper on employment gains.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel J. Wilson, 2010. "Is the recent productivity boom over?," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue sep20.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfel:y:2010:i:sep20:n:2010-28
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Petrosky-Nadeau, Nicolas, 2013. "TFP during a credit crunch," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(3), pages 1150-1178.
    2. Mary C. Daly & Bart Hobijn & Aysegül Sahin & Robert G. Valletta, 2012. "A Search and Matching Approach to Labor Markets: Did the Natural Rate of Unemployment Rise?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 3-26, Summer.
    3. Mary C. Daly & Bart Hobijn & Robert G. Valletta, 2011. "The recent evolution of the natural rate of unemployment," Working Paper Series 2011-05, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    4. Jean Pisani-Ferry & Adam Posen, 2011. "From convoy to parting ways? Post-crisis divergence between European and US macroeconomic Policies," Working Papers 498, Bruegel.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Productivity - United States;

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