Friday, December 30, 2011

Unexpectedly weak productivity growth

Graph #3 from yesterday:
I want to see those increases in output per hour. So I turned off the log scale and looked at "percent change from year ago" values:

Not so obvious before 1960 where the recessions are close together, but after 1960 it seems that productivity spikes up immediately after a recession, then trends more slowly downward to the next recession. You can see it after the 1960 recession and maybe the 1970 recession and definitely after the 1974 recession and the 1982 recession and the 2001 recession.

It is worth repeating that the "normal" pattern is a rapid increase in productivity immediately following a recession, then a gradual decline continuing to the next recession. However, we do not see that normal pattern following our most recent recession. Instead we see a rapid increase in productivity, and a rapid decline.

No comments: