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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Brookings highlights research which shows lowered crop yields, lower labor and agricultural productivity and damage to human health due to climate change will significantly decrease GDP in Africa. Yinka Adegoke, Quartz Africa, "African economies will outperform global growth in 2020 despite a lag from its biggest countries," 12 Jan. 2020 But in that case, military officials cited concerns over productivity and the potential distraction hazards of pursuing the virtual Pokémon while driving or walking. Neil Vigdor, New York Times, "U.S. Military Branches Block Access to TikTok App Amid Pentagon Warning," 4 Jan. 2020 The long-term impact of these trends could include lower workplace productivity and an increased strain on the country’s health care system, especially Medicare, the study’s authors said. Julie Washington, cleveland, "Obesity-associated cancers are affecting people at a younger age, CWRU study suggests," 25 Dec. 2019 For the last half decade, the hope was India’s move towards openness and inclusivity would provide some of that productivity and reliability. Ian Bremmer, Time, "I Argued That Narendra Modi Was India's Best Hope for Economic Reform. Things Have Changed," 20 Dec. 2019 In the early 19th century, productivity and income were skyrocketing, first in England and soon throughout Europe. Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, "The Real Trouble With Silicon Valley," 17 Dec. 2019 And for employees on the receiving end, favoritism violates the sense of fair play and takes a heavy toll on productivity and morale. Hui Liao,, "How managers and employees can fight favoritism," 5 Dec. 2019 Initially, analysts solved this conundrum by relying on a human capital focus – that is, estimating individuals’ future productivity and income. Deven Carlson, The Conversation, "What’s the value of your dog’s life, and why it matters," 2 Dec. 2019 The first baseman was affected by a lingering thumb injury for much of the 2019 season that impacted his playing time and productivity and eventually required surgery this offseason. Betsy Helfand, Twin Cities, "Twins non-tender C.J. Cron, Trevor Hildenberger; sign Ehire Adrianza," 2 Dec. 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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Time Traveler for productivity

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The first known use of productivity was in 1808

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Statistics for productivity

Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Productivity.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

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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


How to pronounce productivity (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of productivity

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

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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).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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