A “pleasing set of numbers” is what Treasurer Joe Hockey called yesterday’s national accounts, doing his best to put a gloss on an economy that significantly came off the pace in the final quarter of 2013-14. But oddly enough, the Treasurer in reciting many of the numbers we were given yesterday, neglected to mention the most pleasing number of all.
The best measure of private sector labour productivity, Gross Value Added per hour worked, grew 3.3% during the year in trend terms. GVA per hour worked has now grown 9.5% in the last three years, or around 0.8% a quarter, the strongest period of growth since 1997-99. Even taking out the very strong year of 2011-12, when GVA per hour worked grew 4%, it has grown on average 0.7% a quarter over the last two years.