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Productivity drops, but Canadians work longer hours

Published by Steve Coleman on September 09, 2011

Blame the unexpected for a drop in Canadian business productivity in the second quarter of 2011.

New numbers from Statistics Canada say Northern Alberta wildfires and the Japanese tsunami hit home for Canadian manufacturers between April and June.

While companies were producing less, they continued increasing the number of hours their staff worked. Overall productivity fell 0.9 per cent for the quarter after increasing 0.4 per cent in the first three months of the year.

Real gross domestic product for Canadian businesses was down 0.3 per cent in the second quarter after the manufacturing sector saw its first decline after a year-and-a-half of growth, Stats Can says.

Growth in the service sector was flat after two-quarters of growth.

Overall, employment growth slowed to 0.4 per cent in the second quarter. On average, employees added an extra minute to an eight-hour day.

Across the border, American business productivity fell 0.1 per cent in the second quarter after a 0.3 per cent drop in the first three months. Stats Can says it was the first time since 2008 that there have been two consecutive quarters of decline.

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