Last updated: 05.10.15

UK productivity sees rapid rise

Productivity across the UK economy has risen at its fastest rate in four years in the second quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics.News of the rise came at the same time two surveys revealed the UK's manufacturing industry is struggling to maintain growth.The Bank of England looks at productivity levels as a key marker of whether to increase interest rates across the country.Between April and June 2015, output per hour rose 0.9 per cent, marking the biggest quarter-on-quarter rise in four years. Output per hour indicates the amount produced by a company after all its costs have been stripped out, with a greater output per hour meaning a more efficient and productive company.Since 2009, output per hour has increased at an average quarterly rate of between 0.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent. The latest ONS report also revealed that the cost to companies employing staff increased 2.2 per cent in the second quarter, in comparison to the same period the previous year - the fastest rate since the fourth quarter of 2012.However, according to surveys conducted by the British Chambers of Commerce and Markit, confidence rates among UK manufacturers is low, with export growth falling and jobs being lost.Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit said: "Job cuts send a signal that manufacturers are becoming more cautious about the future, which may lead to a further scaling-back of production at some firms in coming months."Virtual College is one of the leading providers of e-learning in the UK. Our Productivity Series has been developed to provide a solution to the adoption of lean manufacturing principles within businesses and the NHS. For more information, please visit: