Bulgaria's labour productivity edged up 0.7% y/y in Q1 2013 after increasing by 5.5% y/y in the last quarter of 2012, the statistics office said. The highest productivity growth was registered in agriculture, which went up 7.5% y/y, while gains in industry amounted to 5.3% y/y. Productivity in the services sector decreased 2.4% y/y. The number of working people decreased by 0.7% y/y and worked hours were down 1% y/y.
IntelliNews Comment: Bulgaria's labour productivity has been rising in every quarter since 2010 and this increase came on the back of around 13% overall drop in employment in Bulgaria in the past four years. The continued growth in labour productivity was preceded by an average decrease of 2.8% in 2009 [In 2009 the contraction in output outpaced the decline in employment (producers were not yet sure of the severity and duration of the recession, so they were reluctant to massively cut their workforce)]. Part of the productivity growth may be attributed also to employers' preference to create output with less labour, expecting higher productivity from a smaller pool of more expensive workers rather than from a larger pool of relatively cheaper workers. This preference manifested in reduced employment and higher average wages. In Q1 2013 the number of employed persons, as presented by the statistics office labour force survey, was 12.5% lower than in the first quarter of 2009, and the average wage was 33.8% higher.
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