UK productivity jumps at fastest rate for six years

Fewer people working fewer hours but creating same output explains surprise gain, but productivity remains well below pre-financial crisis trend

The productivity of British workers has increased at the fastest rate in more than six years, handing the government a rare boost in correcting one of the biggest problems facing the UK economy.

Labour productivity, or economic output per hour worked, grew by 0.9% in the three months to September 2017, the Office for National Statistics said. Economists said the jump came thanks to stronger growth in factory output, weaker jobs growth and the UK economy generating broadly the same amount of output for fewer hours worked.

Productivity is an economic measure of the efficiency of a workforce. It typically measures the level of output per hour of work, or per worker.

Related: UK’s poorest to fare worst in age of automation, thinktank warns

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