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An Analysis of the Labour Productivity Growth Slowdown in Canada since 2000

  • Someshwar Rao

    ()

  • Andrew Sharpe

    ()

  • Jeremy Smith

    ()

After accelerating in the second half of the 1990s, aggregate labour productivity growth in Canada has fallen off significantly since 2000. This paper examines the factors behind this development, which is puzzling given the recent acceleration of productivity growth in the United States and the apparent strength of most productivity drivers in Canada. Factors that may have contributed to the post-2000 productivity growth slowdown include: the weakness of information and communications technologies (ICT) manufacturing; the slower growth of machinery and equipment (M&E) investment; slower economic growth; and higher commodity prices. But the authors argue that in recent years Canada has suffered no major macroeconomic shock (excluding exchange rate shocks) and has undergone no policy development or reorientation that would have significantly impeded productivity growth. In addition, the pick-up in U.S. productivity growth after 2000, which appears to be related to the faster pace of technological change, may augur well for a return to stronger productivity growth in this country. Yet they note that the dangers of complacency are very real. They conclude by pointing out that future trends in productivity in Canada are largely in the hands of the private sector. Nevertheless, Canadian governments can faciliatate productivity-enhancing investments by fostering a highly competitive business climate.

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Article provided by Centre for the Study of Living Standards in its journal International Productivity Monitor.

Volume (Year): 10 (2005)
Issue (Month): (Spring)
Pages: 3-23

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Handle: RePEc:sls:ipmsls:v:10:y:2005:1
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  1. Centre for the Study of Living Standards, 2004. "Report on Productivity Trends in Selected Natural Resource Industries in Canada," CSLS Research Reports 2004-06, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
  2. Surendra Gera & Wulong Gu, 2004. "The Effect of Organizational Innovation and Information and Communications Technology on Firm Performance," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 9, pages 37-51, Fall.
  3. Kaci, Mustapha & Maynard, Jean-Pierre, 2005. "Canada/U.S. Labour Productivity Revisions in the Business Sector," Economic Analysis Methodology Paper Series: National Accounts 2005003e, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis.
  4. Andrew Sharpe, 2004. "Recent Productivity Developments in Canada and the United States: Productivity Growth Deceleration versus Acceleration," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 8, pages 16-26, Spring.
  5. Danny Leung, 2004. "The Effect of Adjustment Costs and Organizational Change on Productivity in Canada: Evidence from Aggregate Data," Working Papers 04-1, Bank of Canada.
  6. Baldwin, John R. & Chowhan, James, 2003. "The Impact of Self-employment on Labour-productivity Growth: A Canada and United States Comparison," Economic Analysis (EA) Research Paper Series 2003016e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  7. Julie Turcotte & Lori Whewell Rennison, 2004. "The Link between Technology Use, Human Capital, Productivity and Wages: Firm-level Evidence," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 9, pages 25-36, Fall.
  8. Jeremy Smith, 2004. "Assessing Aggregate Labour Productivity Trends in Canada and the United States: Total Economy versus Business Sector Perspectives," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 8, pages 47-58, Spring.
  9. Someshwar Rao & Jianmin Tang & Weimin Wang, 2004. "Measuring the Canada-U.S. Productivity Gap: Industry Dimensions," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 9, pages 3-14, Fall.
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