Monday, August 13, 2012

13/8/2012: Telling tales about our 'Productivity'?

IDA recently used the following chart in the context of Irish competitiveness comparatives to the rest of EEC:

According to the above, Irish labour productivity per person employed is at 136.9% of the EU27 average, which makes us the second most productive economy in the Euro Area and the third most productive in the EEC. Of course, the thing that jumps out in the chart is the massive over-performance in output terms by two other 'special' countries: Luxembourg and Norway. This should ring lots of alarm bells when it comes to trusting the above data to base actual comparative assessments on.

It turns out that adjusting our productivity performance for GDP/GNP gap so as to remove the portion of our output that has absolutely no anchoring in Ireland (net after-tax factor payments to foreign investors) implies Irish productivity index at around 102-106% of the EU27 average, placing us below-to-just-above Germany and ahead of Greece.

I wouldn't argue that that is indeed where we are positioned, but rather that the chart used by IDA is simply reflective of vastly over-inflated real productivity of our workforce, just as it is for Norway (petro-dollars economy) and Lux (an economy with massively undercounted non-resident workforce and an industrial scale 'dry cleaning laundry' for European, EEC & Eastern European corporates).
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