pro·​duc·​tiv·​i·​ty | \ ˌprō-dək-ˈti-və-tē , 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

One of the main reasons investors see great potential is the relatively low growth in productivity in the building trades, relative to other industries. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Traditionally low-tech construction industry attracts $1.3 billion in venture capital," 2 Aug. 2018 This drop in income comes at the same time that productivity in the United States is at record highs, the study found. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Study: Over 20 years, Silicon Valley workers’ median wage has fallen by 14%," 23 Nov. 2018 There were a lot of investments as the Green Revolution crops came along; the agricultural productivity more than doubled. Ezra Klein, Vox, "Why Bill Gates is worried," 15 Oct. 2018 Rising productivity is imperative in boosting living standards. Martin Crutsinger, Fox News, "US productivity grew at strong 2.9 percent rate in Q2," 15 Aug. 2018 Scientists at the Lighting Research Center in Troy, N.Y. report that spaces using natural daylight boost the productivity and comfort of those inside. The Seattle Times, "4 quick fixes to give your rental home more personality," 13 Aug. 2018 In the simplest economic models, productivity is almost all that matters. The Economist, "If wages are to rise, workers need more bargaining power," 31 May 2018 The growth effects of rising productivity will be offset by a shrinking workforce in developed countries that could cut $5 trillion from GDP by 2030. Alan Murray, Fortune, "Labor Markets, Brief Shutdown, Asian Sell-Off: CEO Daily for February 9, 2018," 9 Feb. 2018 Economists have suggested several theories to explain chronically weak productivity growth. Christopher Rugaber, The Seattle Times, "U.S. retailers hope higher pay will buy more efficient workers," 1 Jan. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of productivity

1808, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

16 Feb 2019

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The first known use of productivity was in 1808

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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

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Comments on productivity

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