Economic value of the knowledge and skills of the UK’s workforce fell by £130 billion in 2010, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal.

The knowledge and skills of workers in the UK were worth an estimated £17.12 trillion in 2010. This was more than two-and-a-half times the estimated value of UK’s tangible assets – such as buildings, vehicles, plant and machinery – at the beginning of the same year.

ONS published the estimates as part of its measuring national well-being programme. They say there is increasing “international awareness that national well-being depends upon human capital as well as natural, social and physical capital”.

The value of the UK’s human capital stock, the ONS say, increased steadily between 2001 and 2007, averaging annual increases of £425 billion.

The slowing of earnings growth and increases in unemployment during the economic downturn meant growth in the stock of human capital slowed to an average of £120 billion per year between 2007 and 2009, before falling in 2010.

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