UK workers increased their productivity by the fastest rate in more than a year, according to the latest figures from Office for National Statistics.
Output per hour was up 1.4 per cent in the second quarter.
Output also rose 0.5 per cent during the same period after a 0.6 per cent drop in the first quarter.
Production boost: UK workers increased their productivity by the fastest rate in more than a year, according to the latest figures from Office for National Statistics
Despite workers clocking in for fewer hours in the second quarter, output growth was stronger.
This was the third improvement in the past four quarters – the best annual performance since the 2016 fourth quarter.
Annual labour productivity is also up for the seventh consecutive quarter.
However, it still remains below the pre-financial crisis average.
Economists said the fresh data was a positive signal for the economy, but that productivity was unlikely to return to average growth of two per cent, a figure based on economic performance before the financial crisis.
Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at EY Item Club, said: ‘Companies are likely to increasingly prioritise productivity-enhancing measures, and there is likely to be a growing incentive to undertake investment aimed at saving labour.’
But he added: ‘A serious concern is that the heightened possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a deal next March will cause companies to limit their investment in the near term with damaging implications for productivity.
Clock watching: Despite workers clocking in for fewer hours in the second quarter, output growth was stronger
‘Disappointingly, business investment fell in both the first and second quarters of 2018.
‘Even if a Brexit transition deal is ultimately ratified and comes into effect in March 2019, ongoing uncertainties over the future trade relationship between the UK and EU may well still limit the upside for investment.’
On an output per worker basis, labour productivity increased by 0.2 per cent compared with a year ago and 0.3 per cent up on the quarter.
The ONS also compiled data comparing productivity on a region-by-region basis.
Although London had the highest level of output per hour for services, the North West and Scotland had the highest productivity in manufacturing.