Manufacturing productivity increased during 1998, up 1.1% over the year to December, according to the Office for National Statistics. However, productivity over the whole of 1998 was not much higher than the base year, 1995.
Wage costs in manufacturing were 2.1% higher in December 1998 than a year before. Average manufacturing earnings, including bonuses, were up 3.2% over the year to December 1998, while the service sector saw a rise of 4.3%. The average increase in the economy as a whole was 4.2%.
The Government’s revised average earnings statistics show wages increased faster in manufacturing than in the rest of the economy from 1992 until 1997, since when the sector has fallen behind.
Output of manufactured goods was up slightly in January, by 0.1%, but remained 0.9% lower than in January 1998.
Metals and metal product output was up slightly in January compared with December, but was down 7.7% over the year.
Engineering and allied product output rose 2.9% in the same period.
Factory gate prices were almost flat, up just 0.2% over the year to February. The price of materials and fuel used by manufacturers fell 6.4%.