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U.S. Productivity Growth: The Slowdown Has Returned After a Temporary Revival

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  • Robert J. Gordon

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Abstract

There was never any slowdown in productivity growth in U.S. manufacturing during the postwar period, and indeed there was an unprecedented explosion of manufacturing productivity growth between 1996 and 2004. But the share of the manufacturing sector in the total economy has declined from 30 to 10 per cent since the 1950s. The record for the other 90 per cent, consisting of all the economy outside of manufacturing, is far less encouraging; in non-manufacturing labour productivity growth fell from 2.95 per cent per year in 1948-72 to 1.29 per cent per year in 1972-96. After a brief revival to 2.63 per cent in the brief eight-year period 1996-2004, the growth rate slumped again to 1.47 in the past eight years. This examination of the data provides evidence that the revival of productivity growth associated with the dot.com revolution is over, that multifactor productivity growth in the total economy has returned to the rate achieved in the post-1972 slowdown years.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Gordon, 2013. "U.S. Productivity Growth: The Slowdown Has Returned After a Temporary Revival," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 25, pages 13-19, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:sls:ipmsls:v:25:y:2013:2
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    File URL: http://www.csls.ca/ipm/25/IPM-25-Gordon.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John W. Kendrick, 1961. "Productivity Trends in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kend61-1.
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    Cited by:

    1. A. Bergeaud & G. Cette & R. Lecat, 2015. "GDP per capita in advanced countries over the 20th century," Working papers 549, Banque de France.
    2. Mendieta-Muñoz, Ivan, 2015. "Is potential output growth falling?," MPRA Paper 68278, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Antonin Bergeaud & Gilbert Cette & Rémy Lecat, 2014. "Le produit intérieur brut par habitant sur longue période en France et dans les pays avancés : le rôle de la productivité et de l’emploi," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 474(1), pages 5-34.
    4. repec:bfr:rueban:7 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Bergeaud, A. & Cette, G. & Lecat, R., 2015. "Productivity trends from 1890 to 2012 in advanced countries," Rue de la Banque, Banque de France, issue 07, June..
    6. repec:aei:rpaper:37301 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Gilbert Cette & Rémy Lecat & Carole Ly-Marin, 2017. "Long-term growth and productivity projections in advanced countries," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2016(1), pages 71-90.
    8. repec:spr:cliomt:v:12:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11698-016-0149-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Roberto Cardarelli & Lusine Lusinyan, 2015. "U.S. Total Factor Productivity Slowdown; Evidence from the U.S. States," IMF Working Papers 15/116, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Antal, Miklós, 2014. "Green goals and full employment: Are they compatible?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 276-286.
    11. David M. Byrne & Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2013. "Is the Information Technology Revolution Over?," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 25, pages 20-36, Spring.
    12. Cette, G. & Clerc, C. & Bresson, L., 2015. "Diffusion et contribution à la croissance des TIC aux États-Unis, dans la zone euro et au Royaume-Uni," Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 200, pages 83-90.
    13. Dave Reifschneider & William Wascher & David Wilcox, 2015. "Aggregate Supply in the United States: Recent Developments and Implications for the Conduct of Monetary Policy," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 63(1), pages 71-109, May.
    14. Antonin Bergeaud & Gilbert Cette & Rémy Lecat, 2018. "The role of production factor quality and technology diffusion in twentieth-century productivity growth," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 12(1), pages 61-97, January.
    15. Huang, Kaixing, 2016. "The postwar growth slowdown and the path of economic development," MPRA Paper 80988, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Aug 2017.
    16. Gilbert Cette, 2014. "Does ICT Remain a Powerful Engine of Growth," Post-Print hal-01463929, HAL.
    17. Bart van ARK, 2015. "Productivity and Digitilization in Europe: Paving the Road to Faster Growth," Communications & Strategies, IDATE, Com&Strat dept., vol. 1(100), pages 107-124, 4th quart.
    18. Areendam Chanda & Bibhudutta Panda, 2016. "Productivity Growth In Goods And Services Across The Heterogeneous States Of America," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(2), pages 1021-1045, April.
    19. Castiglione, Concetta & Infante, Davide, 2014. "ICTs and time-span in technical efficiency gains. A stochastic frontier approach over a panel of Italian manufacturing firms," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 55-65.
    20. A. Bergeaud & G. Cette & R. Lecat, 2016. "The role of production factor quality and technology diffusion in 20th century productivity growth," Working papers 588, Banque de France.
    21. Castiglione, Concetta & Infante, Davide, 2012. "ICTs and lags in technical efficiency gains. A stochastic frontier approach over a panel of Italian manufacturing firms," MPRA Paper 51071, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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