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AI-intensive sectors show an increase in productivity, says PwC

LONDON (Reuters) – EMBARGOED 0001 LOCAL TUESDAY

The types of companies most likely to adopt artificial intelligence are seeing worker productivity grow almost five times faster than elsewhere, raising hopes of a boost for the wider economy, according to accounting firm PwC.

Productivity in professional and financial services and information technology grew 4.3% between 2018 and 2022, compared with gains of 0.9% in construction, manufacturing and retail, food and transportation, PwC said.

The data suggested that the rise of artificial intelligence could help countries break out of the rut of low productivity growth, which would boost economic growth, wages and living standards, PwC said in a report published on Tuesday.

Carol Stubbings, leader of PwC Global Markets and Tax & Legal Services, said highly productive sectors saw faster growth in job openings for people with AI skills than without, suggesting AI played a role in these sectors’ higher productivity.

The trend of productivity growth generated by the technology is likely to accelerate as companies increasingly deploy generative AI that can be used by non-AI specialists, she said.

“The challenge with AI, and especially generative AI, is the speed of change,” Stubbings said.

Last week, International Monetary Fund head Kristalina Georgieva said AI is hitting the global labor market “like a tsunami” and is likely to impact 60% of jobs in advanced economies in the next two years.

The PwC report tracked and analyzed more than half a billion job openings from 15 wealthy countries and used data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

It says jobs requiring AI skills – including AI specialist and non-specialist roles – have an average premium of 25% in the US and 14% in Britain.

(Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by David Milliken)