AI-intensive sectors are showing a productivity surge, PwC says

FILE PHOTO: AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters and robot hand miniature in this illustration taken, June 23, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - The types of business which are most likely to use artificial intelligence are seeing growth in workers' productivity that is almost five times faster than elsewhere, raising hopes for a boost to the broader economy, accountancy firm PwC said.

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

The data suggested that the rise of artificial intelligence could help countries to break out of a 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 had faster growth in job ads 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 was likely to accelerate as companies increasingly deployed generative AI which can be used by non-AI specialists, she said.

"The challenge with AI, and particularly generative AI, is the speed of the change," Stubbings said.

Last week the head of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva said AI was hitting the global labour market "like a tsunami" and was likely to have an impact on 60% of jobs in advanced economies in the next two years.

The PwC report tracked and analysed over half a billion job ads from 15 rich countries and used data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

It said jobs that require AI skills - including AI-specialist and non-specialist roles - carried a average premium of 25% in the U.S. and 14% in Britain.

(This story has been refiled to remove extraneous words at the top of the story)

(Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by David Milliken)

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