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BPEA Article

The Recent Productivity Slowdown

Abstract

DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, the growth of output per manhour(hereafter called "labor productivity") was accelerating. According to Kendrick, labor productivity grew at an annual rate of 1.7 percent over the 1899-1929 period, and then at 2.4 percent over the 1929-57 period. The acceleration of the early part of the century, however, was apparently reversed some time in the postwar period, as the following table shows:

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