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NC State Economist Dr. Mike Walden – “The Productivity Mystery”

Mary:  I’m Mary Walden, with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective. Today’s program looks at the productivity mystery.  Mike, there are many economic numbers released, but I understand one that you like best is productivity.   I also understand there’s a current mystery about this number.  Please explain.

Mike:  Summary Answer

  1. Productivity just measures how much output workers are producing
  2. So measures efficiency
  3. Important for two reasons – faster that productivity rises, faster than wages rise and that standard of living improves
  4. Productivity growth has recently slowed – mystery is why
  5. Possible reasons – hasn’t slowed – mismeasurement
  6. Or – workers are using technology for fun, taking away from production
  7. Or – influx of new workers
  8. I’m MW

Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service