Saturday, 29 January 2011

Be wary about the figures

During an economic downturn, companies naturally trim payrolls. When recovery comes, output tends to rise more quickly than employment and productivity growth looks healthy. Over a period of something like 6 months, employment rsies ... and productivity growth figures go back to their 'normal' levels.

So, when you see good productivity growth figures - globally - wait ... and look again in a few months. You will get a more realistic aseessment of what has been happening. The recovery has been notable ... but will start to look worse (especially in advanced economies) as employment catches up.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Join the discussion

There is a really interesting discussion going on in the LinkedIn group "Productivity Futures" sparked by a position paper on the website of the World Confederation of Productivity Science written by John Parsons. (There is a link on this page to the group.)

John is suggesting that the paradigm of continuous growth might not be viable for the future .. .but we rely on it (growth) to feed a continually growing population and to increase wealth and well-being.

If we can't continue to grow, many of the models and assumptions we build no longer hold true. John suggests we had better start looking afresh at some tried and trusted ideas and frameworks before we hit crisis point.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Governments mean business

The US government says car companies paid $9.1 million in fines last year for failing to comply with federal fuel efficiency requirements.

Six companies had to pay fines to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Jaguar-Land Rover paid the largest fine of $3.2 million. Mercedes-Benz paid $2.9 million; Porsche, $1.5 million; and Maserati, nearly $1 million. Ferrari was fined almost $500,000 and Fiat paid about $11,000.

The penalties were established to make sure that vehicles meet basic gas mileage standards. Some makers of luxury vehicles consider the fines to be the cost of doing business.

Car companies paid penalties of $13.3 million in 2009 and $37 million in 2008.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Thai workers get more money, need more skill

Kasikorn Research Centre KRC advises in a new report that the Thai government should further develop the skills of the country’s workers and their productivity so that Thai products can compete more effectively in the global market.

The KRC recommendations were made after the recent National Wage Committee decision to increase the daily minimum wage from Jan 1. It said the increase is slightly higher than the inflation rate and is considered “positive news” to workers throughout the country.

The government should introduce innovative knowledge and technology in order to strengthen labourers’ skills from medium to long-term by offering improved incentives so that they would not migrate overseas,

However, Thai industry will encounter a challenging problem next year due to the rise of operational costs due to the increase of the minimum daily wage and a decline in profit margin because of a fiercer competition in the market, both local and overseas.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

UK Manufacturing needs support

The UK manufacturing sector should be at the forefront of the countrys economic development, the CBI said recently.

The CBI has published its Vision and Ambitions for UK Manufacturing, ahead of a widely anticipated Government framework for the sector and review of advanced manufacturing.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General Designate, said: UK manufacturing is in many ways the unsung hero of our economy. Big productivity gains in the past ten years have made it leaner than ever before, and its now well placed to lead the countrys economic recovery.

To achieve this, however, the Government must act fast. It should build on the sectors strengths, work with business to harness its innovation, and create a tax and regulatory environment that helps UK manufacturers drive up growth in productivity and exports.

We want the Government to be ambitious: focus its support on the sectors with most export growth potential, and improve the UKs competitiveness as a place to invest.

Since 1997, productivity in UK manufacturing has increased by 50%, about double the growth in productivity for the economy as a whole. The sector accounts for 46% of the UKs exports and 74% of its research and development (R&D).