Productivity in the UK’s low-wage industries

John Forth and Ana Rincon Aznar

This report compares productivity performance in low-paid sectors in the UK with those sectors internationally, asking what accounts for the differences.

It finds that:

  • The UK’s productivity performs relatively strongly in some low-wage sectors, such as retail and textile and clothing manufacture. Productivity is relatively weak, however, in sectors such as agriculture, arts, entertainment and recreation, due to differences in labour quality and total factor productivity.
  • Overall, UK sectors with a higher incidence of low pay tend to perform slightly better in international comparison than higher-paid sectors.
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