If you want to read good news stories, check this out in the Financial Times.
Even by the standards of the #despitebrexit media this is a masterpiece. In what is quite a long and intelligent article they managed to get over the good news very quickly. In fact, they managed it in five lines before devoting the next eleven paragraphs to why in fact, everything was indeed terrible and we are all doomed, doomed I tell ya...
I have not been a fan of productivity as the obsessive measurement of it in my own industry leaves much to be desired. From obsessions with productivity come ideas like presenteesim in the office and other pointless paraphernalia of modern working life.
However, for the UK macro there are a few of truth bullets which really paint the picture:
1. The decline of the North Sea production and the easy productivity that went with it (a few people on rigs churning up billions of pounds per quarter) has been disastrous for the UK. This alone accounts for a huge chunk of the measured drop in productivity.
2. There is little retrospection in these numbers, so Financial Services are now way more unproductive than they were 10 years ago for worker output. But, um, most of the output was bullshit and the country had a huge recession, so were the original productivity measures also rubbish - almost certainly yes.
3. Mass immigration and an abundance of low wage labour has kept investment down and wages low. As a huge bonus to this we have had a cheaper cost of living and near deflation in many parts of the economy as well as near full employment - even with the immigration wave. Sadly, all this hugely lowers productivity - why invest in machines when there are people who will do the work for less.
I note the FT lightly touches on the 3rd point but only in passing and dismissively - whilst selectively quoting economists who agree with it and generally hand-wringing. Instead the above tells me we should not overly worry about productivity - the measurement is wrong, its a crap predictor and we cant do much about it anyway, so why worry.