Fed Vice Chair Fischer says weak productivity major problem

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer says the rate of productivity growth has fallen dramatically in the United States and other countries over the last 20 years.

Fischer says that “there are few issues more important for the future of our economy” than boosting productivity, the amount of output per hour of work.

Fischer says productivity grew at a solid 3 percent from 1952 to 1973, then slowed to 2.1 percent from 1974 to 2007. He said that from 2008 to 2015, productivity growth in the United States has fallen to an average rate of just 1.2 percent.

Fischer says this retreat will likely have “severe consequences” on the nation. But economists are unsure of why the slowdown has occurred or what will happen to productivity in the future.