Labor productivity is an important variable with respect to several issues that interest me. On the one hand, we would expect that an approaching machine-intelligence singularity would be signaled by super-exponential increases in productivity. On the other hand, if the peak-oil-doomer-relocalist axis that thinks we will have to go back to doing everything by hand was correct, we would expect labor productivity to undergo massive drops.
The above graph shows the US data (from the BLS) where I have taken the average growth rate over each ten year period in output/hour for all business. The underlying quarterly data start in 1947, so 1957 is the earliest date for which I have a ten year growth rate. I did it this way to smooth out the year-to-year noise.
The narrative I would tell here would be one of competing forces. On the one hand, the sharp drop in productivity growth in the 1970s seems to me very likely to be associated with the oil shocks, which caused a sharp rise in the price of energy in general, and mobility in particular. There also seems to be a much less serious turning point in 2005, that it's similarly tempting to associate with the 2005-2008 oil price shock.
On the other hand, the big run up in productivity since the mid 1990s seems very tempting to associate with the growth of the Internet (I have shown the Netscape IPO date above as a marker of the beginning of the Internet as a major commercial force).
Overall, you certainly couldn't claim this is a super-exponential. On the other hand, it's striking that productivity growth has been accelerating pretty rapidly since the late 1990s. As soon as the pressure came off oil prices a little with the great recession (oil is still not cheap by historical standards) it started to accelerate sharply again.
Of course, this is a somewhat speculative narrative - firm attribution has got to be extremely difficult here, given the way multiple overlapping waves of innovation are washing through the economy at the same time, all of them affecting productivity. Still, it will be interesting to track this in the future.