Australian manufacturing productivity worst among developed nations: US report

A United States Bureau of Labor Statistics report comparing 19 developed nations has ranked Australian manufacturing as the least productive.

The Australian Financial Review cites findings that Australia’s productivity fell four per cent last year – the biggest drop in any country – with only Japan and Italy also seeing negative results. 15 of the 19 countries had seen a positive result for last year.

The report measured “real value added in national currency units” to reduce exchange rates skewing results.

For the period 2007 to 2011, only Germany and Finland did worse than Australia, which saw a reduction in productivity of 0.5 per cent for the period.

The Czech Republic saw the greatest productivity growth for 2010-11, surging 10.1 per cent. It also managed productivity gains of between 8.3 and 13.0 per cent for every measured period in the report since 2000.

The United States’ manufacturing sector has bettered its productivity by 6.1 per cent for 2000-2007 and 3.8 per cent for 2007-2011. It has lately been seeing an industrial resurgence, which has been hailed by some as a “manufacturing renaissance”.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics report continues recent poor results for Australia’s manufacturing productivity when compared to other countries. Last month the Deloitte 2013 Global Manufacturing Index survey, pooling the views of 550 CEOs, showed Australia placing 16th in terms of how competitive it was perceived to be.

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