Why the Decline?The US Government’s official labor productivity measure for 2011-2015 shows that the average American worker’s work output has dropped to the lowest it has been since the the five year time period 1972-1977. Robert Gordon of Northwestern University theorizes that this drop in productivity has nothing to do with workers slacking off on social media. Instead, Gordon told The Atlantic the drop is a direct result of businesses having outgrown the status-quo technologies that are fixtures in the average workplace. Gordon said:
“We have an $18 trillion economy. Most of it is operating by the same business methods and procedures that have been in place for at least 10 years.”Gordon’s research charts periods of increased productivity to technological advancements that have revolutionized the ways in which we conduct business. For instance, the spike in the 1980s and 1990s he attributes to the rise of information technology. Moving away from pen-and-paper, typewriters and physical records and relying more on personal computers, spreadsheets and word processors. But Gordon goes on to express that recent innovations are not being so readily adopted. “In much of the economy, daily practices of business methods are not being influenced by the recent innovations.” Businesses are being reticent to adopt new technological advances.