UK profitability flat and still below peaks

The latest data on UK corporate profitability have been released – to complete figures up to the end of 2013.  The UK’s national stats office is one of the few that provides some very useful data on profitability – and often compares it with other countries too.  According to the data, private non-financial corporations’ profitability, as measured by their net rate of return, was estimated at 11.7% in Q4 2013.  That’s up from the trough in 2009, but still lower than the rates experienced in 2008.  In reality, the rate of profit has been pretty much flat since 2010.

Net ROP quarterly

The net (that’s after depreciation) rate of return in the UK manufacturing sector reached 12.1% at the end of 2013, the highest level since mid-2008.  In contrast, service sector profitability rate was at 13.9%, down from 2012 and still below peaks in 2008.  UK corporate profitability is still some 21% below where it was in 1997, when it reached 14.5%.  And it is still 20% below its next peak year in 2008, and up only a measly 5.5% from the trough of 2009 reached at the end of Great Recession.
UK rate of return on capital

3 thoughts on “UK profitability flat and still below peaks

  1. Hi, Michael. I´m working on an specific paper for UK in the long term.
    How many rivers of ink had been wrote about LTRPF without any empirical base?
    It´s not only that many, may be most, economists, even Marxist economists, deny the validity of the law. They do it, arguing false reasons, refuted by Marx itself in Capital, the book they assert are “analyzing”.
    I´m thinking in some pieces like that from Heinrich on Monthly Review or one by Reuten ; Thomas on Science &; Society. What are they talking about? And please could they give just a little bit of data? Just a little. They are “philosophers” in the poor way.
    I use official data from ONS 1855-2009, you see how the UK series develops in time, and I just think that those rivers of ink are really absurd. Just a false and intellectual exercise with no relation with Marx or reality.
    The paper isn´t too large, when I finish and translate it I will send it to you.

    Best, E.

    1. Esteban

      I could not agree more. As you may know, G Carchedi and I wrote a paper defending the law: its propositions as logical and consistent; and also that is is empirically verifiable. This was a reply to Heinrich: you can find it here ( and in these past posts ( But I have just attended a conference of Marxists where Carchedi and I spoke and we heard yet again the same criticisms: the law is not a law; it is indeterminate; and it is not empirically verifiable. I’ll describe it in a new post. Look forward to seeing your piece. I still plan to cover the world rate of profit shortly.

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