Rates of increase of economic productivity have been falling in most countries for several years, causing concern about the future possibilities for development, economic growth and the capital market system to which the world is increasingly is committed.
During 1989-1993, gross domestic product (GDP) and industrial output declined in absolute and/or relative terms in all ECE countries, especially in eastern and central Europe. In western market economies the decline differed from the well-known pattern of cyclical changes of the past. It has lasted longer and gone further than in the the past and has, in most countries, affected all economic sectors, including services, in particular the retail trade, transport and financial services. Any recovery is likely to be slow – just under 2 percent growth was projected as an average for western Europe in 1994 (actual figures are not yet available).
There was a turnaround in productivity the UK in 1992. With employment in manufacturing falling far more rapidly than output has been declining, productivity growth rose to 3.9% in the second half of 1992 from 2.1% in the first six months of the year.