Longer Hours and Lower Productivity

Despite a strong labor market recovery, worker productivity has declined for five consecutive quarters (the first time on record). Workforce data suggests that employees are working longer hours, representing a decline in worker efficiency (and further magnifying the decline in worker productivity). While some have blamed remote and hybrid work arrangements, economist Gregory Daco points instead to various trends we have seen in recent years—e.g., “economic uncertainty, layoffs, burnout and a high rate of quitting.”

Business Takeaway: While staffing remains a major issue for many businesses, it is not the whole story. Even if staffed adequately, keeping workers engaged appears to be the bigger struggle. How are you measuring your workplace productivity, and do your observations over the past five quarters reflect national trends?