We get some annual multi-factor productivity data from Statistics New Zealand next week, but for more a more timely read on productivity what we have is data on real GDP per hour worked. This chart compares New Zealand and Australian real GDP per hour worked since just prior to the recession of 2008/09. As previously, for New Zealand, I’ve average the two GDP series, and used the HLFS hours worked series. There is a break in the series in June last year, on account of changes in the HLFS methodology. That lifted hours worked (as measured) by about 2 per cent, and in this chart I’ve silently adjusted for that (while still hankering for an offical SNZ series that corrected for the break).
Still going nowhere – perhaps even backwards – after five years. Diverging ever further below Australia over that five years. And for the full nine years, less than 5 per cent productivity growth in total.
You’d like to think this sort of gross underperformance would be getting some attention in the run-up to the election. But there isn’t much sign of that.
Perhaps we are just supposed to think of it as some sort of “quality problem”, or a “problem of success”? Mark me down as unconvinced.