3.4. Productivity

Apparent productivity of labour values for the Basque Country are much higher than in the other territories, and have increased steadily

The results achieved in terms of productivity constitute another intermediate performance indicator, as improving this area is a requirement in order to be competitive. Table 9 and Graph 8 present the comparative position and trend in apparent productivity per employee in purchasing power parity terms. Basque productivity remains at the top of all the rankings considered, with much higher values than the rest of the territories and steadily increasing values. However, the picture would be different if the analysis were conducted based on hours worked rather than per worker because, as we will see in section 4.1.3, the number of average hours worked is higher in the Basque Country than in other territories. Furthermore, unlike that of other territories, here it has increased in recent years.

Table 9. Status of the Basque Country in terms of productivity indicators
Table 9. Status of the Basque Country in terms of productivity indicators
Fuente: Eustat (Basque Statistics Office), Eurostat. Compiled by authors.
NB: Except when no data were available, the rankings have been compiled based on 218 European regions (in blue), the Basque Country and the group of 30 comparable regions (in green), and the 19 Spanish autonomous communities and cities (in red).
Graph 8. Variation in productivity indicators
Graph 8. Variation in productivity indicators
Source: Eustat (Basque Statistics Office), Eurostat. Compiled by authors.

In recent years, increased productivity has been accompanied by a net increase in jobs

Measuring data in PPP terms has the disadvantage of applying national average values, without taking price differences in different regions into account. As a result, in the case of the Basque Country (where prices are higher) this may lead to an overvaluation of productivity. For this reason, the analysis is supplemented with productivity values (measured as the coefficient between GVA and the number of people in work) in constant terms (see Graph 9). Measuring in euros corrects for overvaluation in output measurement, and measuring in constant terms counteracts the effects of inflation. In this case, we can also see that Basque productivity has been increasing at very similar rates to the German average, far above the European average and even further above Spain. One positive aspect is that even though some years ago, increases in productivity were primarily due to production remaining steady and job cuts, in recent years, it has been accompanied by net increases in employment. This will be discussed in greater depth in section 4.1.3, where, in analysing the trend in labour costs, we also analyse their relationship to productivity. It will also be seen that another element which explains the higher productivity of the Basque Country is its industrial specialisation, as this sector has higher productivity than in other sectors.

Graph 9. Apparent productivity per employee (thousand € constant 2015), 2008–2018
Graph 9. Apparent productivity per employee (thousand € constant 2015), 2008–2018
Source: Eurostat and Eustat (Basque Statistics Office). Compiled by authors.