Productivity growth in the United States slowed sharply around 2005, which has contributed to slow growth in wages and downward revisions to estimates of long run economic growth. The global economy has grown incredibly fast since 1950, with global GDP expanding six-fold and average per capita income nearly tripling. A larger workforce and increased productivity spurred this growth. However, the global workforce is expected to grow more slowly over the coming years, and peak in size around 2050. If strong economic growth is to be achieved, in both the United States and globally, productivity must increase strongly.
On Wednesday, April 8, the Initiative on Business and Public Policy hosted an event exploring these and related issues. The event featured keynote remarks by Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. James Manyika and Jaana Remes of the McKinsey Global Institute considered the potential for faster global productivity growth. Marco Annunziata of General Electric will gave his perspective, and Martin Baily looked at explanations for slow growth in the U.S. economy.