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The ESPON 2013 Operational Programme
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Labour productivity, 2008

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Map
 

  • The territorial pattern of labour productivity is rather similar to the GDP per capita map as disparities between West and East are quite striking
  • Disparities in labour productivity at national level are more prominent within countries where capital cities or metropolitan regions absorb labour productivity
  • In Western Europe, many rural regions register productivity values above the European average
  • Regions with the lowest productivity values are to be found in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey

Observations for policy

Territorial patterns of labour productivity are rather similar to those of GDP per capita. There are regional disparities both as European level and within countries.

The main disparities are between Eastern and Western Europe, but also between urban and rural regions. Whereas in Eastern Europe only capital cities register productivity levels above the European average, in Western Europe this situation can be also observed in many rural regions.

Policy context

Economic development and economic disparities are a key policy concern in the light of the economic crisis and recovery. This is not at least expressed by the Europe 2020 strategy underlining the need for growth and job creation. Also the development of future ERDF and ESF programmes emphasize the ambitions to strengthen economic growth and reduce economic imbalances.

It is widely acknowledged that economic growth is related to labour productivity. This means that regions with high labour productivity are likely to be stronger in economic terms and to foster recover from the crisis.

The Europe 2020 strategy underlines the need for improving Europe麓s competitiveness. It acknowledges the increase of productivity is important to strengthen Europe in the global economy.

Map interpretation

The territorial pattern shown in the map is quite similar to the GDP per capita because it shows the overall differences between East and West and consequently it nuances the results of GDP per capita.

Regions with the lowest productivity values can be observed in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. However, also in Western Europe there is a wide range of regions with productivity values below the European average.

The map also shows disparities within countries. Generally, productivity is higher in both metropolitan and urban regions than in rural areas. Despite the general urban-rural differences several rural regions in Western Europe have a labour productivity above the European average, including France, Spain, Italy and the UK.

In Eastern Europe, productivity values above the European average are mainly observed in capital cities whereas in most Western countries a wide range of regions register productivity levels above the average.

Concepts and methods

Productivity is an average measure between the amount of goods being produced by each member of the labour force and the level of GDP produced by each worker within a region. For this map, regions have been ranked according to the EU average which in this case is expressed as 100.


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