Productivity in the World Economy During and After the Pandemic

2023-29 | September 1, 2023

This paper reviews how productivity has evolved around the world since the pandemic began in 2020. Productivity in many countries has been volatile. We conclude that the broad contours of productivity growth during this period have been heavily shaped by predictable cyclical patterns. Looking at U.S. industry data, we find little evidence that the sharp rise in telework has had a notable impact, good or bad, on productivity. Stepping back, the data so far appear consistent with a continuation of the slow-productivity-growth trajectory that we faced before the pandemic.

Article Citation

Li, Huiyu, and John G. Fernald. 2023. “Productivity in the World Economy During and After the Pandemic,” Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Working Paper 2023-29. Available at https://doi.org/10.24148/wp2023-29

About the Authors
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John G. Fernald is a senior research advisor in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and a professor of economics at INSEAD. Learn more about John G. Fernald
Huiyu Li
Huiyu Li is a research advisor in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Learn more about Huiyu Li