A Detailed Analysis of the Productivity Performance of Oil and Gas Extraction in Canada
In recent years, the productivity performance of oil and gas extraction in Canada has been dismal. Based on official real GDP and labour input estimates from Statistics Canada, labour productivity in oil and gas extraction fell 8.23 per cent per year between the 2000 cyclical peak and 2007, with capital productivity down 5.97 per cent per year over the same period and total factor productivity (TFP) off 6.67 per cent per year between 2000 and 2006. Among the various hypotheses put forward to explain these trends, the most robust seems to be that higher output prices have suppressed productivity growth through two effects: increased exploitation of low-productivity marginal deposits, and business decisions based on profitability rather than productivity. Despite the rapid decline in productivity in oil and gas extraction, it is not necessarily true that Canadians are worse off. In fact, increased output prices and employment shares in the industry, as well as the high productivity level, have resulted in positive contributions to Canada‟s aggregate labour productivity growth from 2000 to 2006.
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