UK
19/09/2013 11:53 BST | Updated 19/09/2013 13:26 BST

Britons Are Less Productive Than Before Recession, ONS Figures

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'Man leaning back resting at his desk, with a be back soon note on his shoe. Shallow dof, focus on note on shoe. Some grain in image.'

British workers are less productive than before the recession, official statistics have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics also found that the productivity gap between British workers and those of the main G7 economies is at its highest for 19 years.

Last year the country's output per worker was 19% below the average for the rest of the major industrialised economies, while output per hour was 16% lower. The UK has also fallen by 2% compared to 2007, the ONS said.

The ONS said the figures are a "first estimate" of how labour productivity in the UK compared last year with the G7 nations, France, Germany, US, Japan, Canada and Italy.

John Philpott, the former chief economic adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said the weak productivity figures showed the UK is not experiencing a "genuine recovery".

"The bad news is that the UK is falling fast down the international productivity ranking," he said.

"The relative improvement in the UK's productivity performance from the mid-1990s to the late 2000s has clearly gone into reverse in an economy reliant on falling real wages, rather than increased output, as the main driver of employment growth.

"The drop in the UK's international productivity ranking in 2012 proves that strong employment growth fuelled by falling real wages is symptomatic of relative economic weakness rather than strength.

"While the real wage squeeze is preferable to even higher unemployment, these latest international productivity figures show the UK economy can't be deemed to be experiencing a genuine recovery until we see firm evidence of both stronger output growth and rising real incomes."

This comes after chancellor George Osborne said the economy was “looking better” and “turning a corner”.

Speaking at the Institute of Directors' annual convention on Wednesday, he said: "The British economy is looking better. The economy is growing in all sectors. Britain is turning a corner but we have a long way to go.”