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UK businesses becoming more productive

British businesses are showing signs of improvement in an area where they have long and traditionally lagged behind the international competition: worker productivity.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), GDP per worker in the UK is now ahead of Japan and on par with Germany.

The UK is still short of the productivity of workers in France, Italy and the US, and remains below the average for the G7 economies.

However, the longer term trend suggests that the British are closing the gap. Since 1991, the UK has achieved a more impressive rate of productivity growth than the other G7 nations.

In 2008, as measured on a per worker basis, the improvement stood at 39 per cent. As gauged on a per hour basis, the rate of growth was 49 per cent.

Although the recession has blunted productivity, the UK has experienced a less severe decline than that suffered in several other economies.