If the construction industry is anything—it’s consistent. For roughly 20 straight years, the industry has racked up the “least improved” award for having the lowest annual productivity gains globally of any industry. This means construction is still way less productive now than it was in 1995, according to a 2017 McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) study.
The facts are straightforward. The global average for the value-added per hour has inched up by 1% a year in the past 20 years—about one-quarter the growth rate of manufacturing. In the U.S. alone, construction productivity has steadily declined since 1968 while other sectors have seen productivity grow by 10 to 15 times.