Workers get less done on hot days.


The Risky Business Project tells us that climate change will have a big effect on labor productivity, particularly for workers who work outdoors or in workplaces affected by temperature. The study highlights four high-risk sectors: agriculture, construction, utilities, and manufacturing. These account for about a quarter of the U.S. labor force and just under one-fifth of GDP. States that depend heavily on these sectors, such as Louisiana, Indiana, and Iowa, could be hardest hit by declines in labor productivity.

We know that stagnant income for middle class workers, a big political issue, is caused in part because output per hour isn’t growing as it did in past decades. This slowdown in productivity growth now has an additional drag: global warming.