The average hourly output of British workers posted slight gains in 2020 even as the COVID-19 pandemic hit total production, according to Reuters.
- U.K. production rose by 0.4% last year, while total production dropped nearly 10% due to the pandemic.
- The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the productivity impact of 2020’s economic collapse differed from the 2008-2009 financial crisis due to the types of jobs affected. Last year’s economic downfall was the biggest in over 300 years.
- Many workers in relatively low-paid retail and hospitality roles were furloughed, while employees working from home were typically in higher-paid sectors, which boosted the figures.
- Productivity within the retail sector posted sharp gains in the second half of 2020 as businesses started to reopen and online shopping intensified.
- Growth drivers include online retail, which employs less staff versus traditional stores, and supermarkets which tended to be larger than average.
- Hourly output in the public sector was 13.0% lower in the fourth quarter to reflect a surge in COVID-related spendings such as personal protective equipment and COVID testing programs.
- Total hourly output also fell 0.7% compared to a year earlier, smaller than the earlier flash estimate of a 1.1% decline.