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The Service Economy in the Last Decade
Nov 14, 2000

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  • The services sector experienced robust growth that frequently outpaced the performance in the overall economy in the Canada, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States during the last decade (Graph No. 1). French services growth affected by a sharp contraction in financial services during the decade was the only to exhibit mediocre results and slower output growth than the overall economy growth. Excepting Japan and Germany, all six developed economies reported in this survey experienced even faster growth in the services sector towards the end of the1990s with growth in 1997 and 1998 particularly high in all countries.

    Graph No. 1 Services Sector Growth Rates. 1989-1998
    Graph No. 1 Services Sector Growth Rates. 1989-1998
    Data: Services Statistics in Value Added and Employment 2000. OECD. Growth estimates for Germany and France from 1992. US estimate until 1997. The rest of the countries have growth estimates including 1998.

    A faster than the average economy growth has been a distinct feature of services, which in average account for 60% of Gross Value Added (GVA) in developed economies according to the OECD Services Statistics on Value Added and Employment 2000 Report1. Services also generated over 70% of employment in developed economies in the past decade. Together these two characteristics explain the widely acknowledged fact that services average labor productivity trails that of the entire economy, and contributed to the misleading generalization that services jobs are low-pay jobs.


    1A link to the OECD website where the report is made available can be found at the end of this survey.

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