Not the hugest of surprises

US productivity accelerates at fastest rate in 11 years

The marginal workers are, one supposes, the least productive. So fire a lot of them and productivity improves.

Further, close own the least labour productive part of the economy – restaurants, bars – and productivity improves.

19 thoughts on “Not the hugest of surprises”

  1. Some people claim that now when they work from home they are more productive. But isn’t the risk that many jobs could easily move abroad? They speak passable English in say Poland and India. Keep the minimum staff in the UK, only the ones who really need to meet face to face.

    If this is so, It might be easier FOR ME to get a part time job working from home if need be. I could under-cut the pay big time, few hours a day I could work for £1500. I don’t have to pay the mortgage or pay school fees or new cars, just need a new roof and fence in the future, stuff I’d hate to pay from my SIPP drawdowns.

  2. Over the years (he said rather grandly) I’ve been struck by the number of people who can’t distinguish productivity from production.

    Jussi: maybe set up your own company and be a contractor. Arrange things properly and you’d not need to pay NICs, and you’d have less income tax to pay too.

  3. From the sound of it (my apologies if I’m wrong) Jussi is of an age to be exempt from NIC.

    Offshoring labout has its limitations. Think of those call centres being repatriated.

  4. Jussi, that’s 50% more than my annual salary in 1969, and somewhat less than I charge per day now. Some of that is inflation, and some because I know more now. It does, of course, show you how pathetic the state pension is.

  5. A great resource I found on practical pension stuff, NIC, and investing, even DIY, is lemonfool.co.uk, a discussion forum, just have a look at the topic headings. This website replaced the old UK Motley Fool forums.

  6. Dennis, Tiresome Denizen of Central Ohio

    But isn’t the risk that many jobs could easily move abroad? They speak passable English in say Poland and India.

    Yes, those jobs can be moved abroad easily. ‘Merican companies jumped on that bandwagon about 15 years ago, moving lots of customer support jobs to India. What did a lot of those companies find out? Pissed off customers aren’t amused by wogs speaking “passable English”. So lots of those jobs have moved back to the USA.

    When your printer isn’t working, the last thing you want in your life is having to deal with someone 7,000 miles away who is named Ramesh and is reading support answers from a script in “passable English”.

  7. Dennis, On The Front Lines Fightin' Them Chlorinated Chickens

    Over the years (he said rather grandly) I’ve been struck by the number of people who can’t distinguish productivity from production.

    Even more to the point, I’m struck by the number of people who don’t understand that don’t understand the difference between working hard and being productive. In my first round of interviews after graduating I mentioned to a interviewer that I was a hard worker. His response was, “Any moron can work hard, we’re looking for productive workers.” I’ve never forgotten that.

  8. My workplace is looking to make teleworking a more permanent option so my wife said why wait
    until retirement to move somewhere quiter and cheaper. I’m also surprised by some of the younger staff who seem very keen on it and don’t realise the implications for hiring people who will work for less as they have lower outgoings (city is expensive)

  9. Bloke in North Dorset

    “ Jussi: maybe set up your own company and be a contractor. Arrange things properly and you’d not need to pay NICs, and you’d have less income tax to pay too.”

    If you’ve got capacity in your pension the most efficient way of getting money out is to get the company to pay a big pension payment, that’s paid before profits are calculated sou you only pay income tax on drawdown.

  10. When your printer isn’t working, the last thing you want…

    True – but it’s not much better to have Dave in Tempe reading from a script, either (or Dianne in Reading, I suppose).
    Of course, the whole discussion always brings back Jamal in the call centre in Slumdog Millionaire: “No, I’m near the loch, right by Sean Connery’s flat!”

  11. Dennis, good point about working hard and being productive. In Väino Linna’s novel Unknown Soldier, in the winter war two soldiers are pushing an ammunition sled through the snowy forest. The other lad is effing and blinding and moaning and sweating, a soliloguy how pissed he is, wishing the Ivan would just fucking kill them. Perkele! Fucking stumps and rocks, heavy snow! Notices his friend. “You’re not even sweating!” The other chap answers: “I’m not trying to get all sweaty, main thing is to keep the sled moving…”

  12. @Diogenes: it is my ambition to see the state funded by taxes on its own employees. Arithmetically it’s a bit of a challenge, but it will appeal to those naive folk who think Henry Ford paid his workers well so they could afford to buy his cars.

  13. Bloke in North Dorset

    @dearieme,

    That’s very good and gave me quite a chuckle.

    I’ve mentally filed it away, so on the off chance I remember it I’ll probably forget where it came from to give due credit, so take a H/T now.

  14. Jussi,

    “Some people claim that now when they work from home they are more productive. But isn’t the risk that many jobs could easily move abroad? They speak passable English in say Poland and India. Keep the minimum staff in the UK, only the ones who really need to meet face to face.”

    There’s jobs I’d call “factory work” in corporations, massive teams where you can split the role into greater specialisation, define the process for those people quite carefully. Like I know a company that fired 100 developers and moved all the work to Hanoi. Their analysts in the UK did the fine analysis work, that was sent over. A few technical guys here reviewed it and then it was tested.

    But if you’re running a fairly small software team, the specialisation is worse, it’s a cost. All that time communicating from analyst to developers? Just have someone who sits with the user and then codes it. It’s why I almost never work in teams with more than 10 developers any longer. Generally, it’s less than 5.

    It’s the same with call centres. If you’re a telco, your call centre is real factory work. Everyone has a script, there’s a well-defined process around the calls. If you’re the support line for parking meters, you have 4 guys who have to think on their feet, adapt to the calls, talk to the MD. It’s so much easier if they’re in the same building and there’s no cultural, language or timezone barriers.

  15. And there are places where interaction is useful. You hear someone say this, and you can then discuss it with him or debate it with your team. Atomised working has its uses but I have seen many cases where it caused failure.

    Call me Knut

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