While the United States has the highest absolute level of productivity, the rate of increase of its manufacturing productivity has been below that of most other industrial nations since World War II. There are indications that U.S. competitiveness is being powerfully challenged. The National Center for Productivity and Quality of Working Life identified three areas crucial to productivity growth: human resources, technology and capital investment, and Government regulation. The high level of education of the labor force, job security, worker attitudes, and labor-management cooperation affect productivity and the quality of working life. Capital investments in basic research produce new concepts and better products and services. Diffusion of U.S. technology to medium and small-sized firms should contribute to increased productivity. Energy development has a strategic impact on supporting productivity growth by permitting introduction of new technologies in industry and new modes of transportation and communication. Some Government regulations have outlived their usefulness and impede productivity. The positive role of Government in promoting national productivity include funding of research and development. Federal grants to transportation systems and to agricultural production, and the patent system. The Government Accounting Office's productivity unit will evaluate the activities of the National Center for Productivity and conduct productivity reviews of Federal programs. Areas of importance to productivity in the private sector are trade and the effects of taxes.
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