pro·​duc·​tiv·​i·​ty | \ ˌprō-dək-ˈti-və-tē How to pronounce productivity (audio) , ˌprä-, prə-ˌdək-\

Definition of productivity

1 : the quality or state of being productive
2 : the rate per unit area or per unit volume at which biomass consumable as food by other organisms is made by producers

Examples of productivity in a Sentence

The country has low agricultural productivity. The company is looking for ways to improve worker productivity. There has been an increase in productivity.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The technology that was initially envisioned as a tool to enhance industrial productivity is now a near necessity for American homes and transportation. Haleema Shah, Smithsonian, "The Unexpected History of the Air Conditioner," 24 June 2019 Russia productivity is among the lowest of the world’s major economies, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "At annual call-in show, Vladimir Putin talks Western sanctions, arrested reporter and $390B infrastructure bill," 20 June 2019 Places whose temperature hovered around 13 degrees Celsius, or about 55 degrees Fahrenheit (like China and the U.S.), have the highest economic productivity in the world. Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic, "Inequality is decreasing between countries—but climate change is slowing progress," 22 Apr. 2019 Blair was operating under the theory that opening markets, cutting taxes, and stripping away restrictions on businesses would boost the growth rates of G.D.P. and productivity, leading to higher wages and living standards for everyone. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Why Socialism Is Back," 18 June 2019 Yu says Emory officials told him a new junior faculty member in the department needed his office space and suggested that Yu’s research productivity was waning. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "Emory scientist was told to vacate his office. He says move is reprisal for activism on Asian ties," 12 June 2019 Some of its biggest product lines, like marketing software, productivity tools, analytics and cloud computing, stem from acquisitions. Owen Thomas,, "Salesforce’s biggest deals: What, why and how much," 10 June 2019 But a lawsuit filed Tuesday underscored growing developer ire over app stores, the vast digital bazaars showcasing millions of games, productivity tools and other software available for download onto handheld devices. Bloomberg News, The Mercury News, "Apple, Google app store dominance spark DoJ interest," 5 June 2019 And more machines are coming as companies try to improve productivity, tilting them toward levels in countries like Germany, which averages 309 robots per 10,000 workers, the most in Europe. Liz Alderman, New York Times, "Robots Ride to the Rescue Where Workers Can’t Be Found," 16 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'productivity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of productivity

1808, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about productivity

Statistics for productivity

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for productivity

The first known use of productivity was in 1808

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for productivity



Financial Definition of productivity

What It Is

Productivity refers to the measure of output (e.g. products) from a production process per unit of input (e.g. labor and capital).

How It Works

Productivity is usually expressed as a ratio of output to inputs. It can be expressed as units of a product (e.g. cars) per worker-hour (total number of hours worked by all workers on that car).   Given the cost of the worker-hour, productivity can also measure the efficiency of a company.

These measures are quantitative and relatively easy to measure.  However, other factors of productivity, such as creativity, innovation, teamwork, and even quality are qualitative and more difficult to measure

Why It Matters

In most business models, profitability is a function of productivity, price, and volume.  In other words, a company's success is measured by how efficiently it uses its resources to produce its product, the price it can sell its products, and how many products it can actually sell.  When comparing companies within a sector, for example, it is very important for investors to understand the relative productivity comparisons between companies producing the same products.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of productivity

: the rate at which goods are produced or work is completed

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on productivity

What made you want to look up productivity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!