AP/ February 11, 2009, 4:17 PM

U.S. Workers World's Most Productive

American workers stay longer in the office, at the factory or on the farm than their counterparts in Europe and most other rich nations, and they produce more per person over the year.

They also get more done per hour than everyone but the Norwegians, according to a U.N. report released Monday, which said the United States "leads the world in labor productivity."

Each U.S. worker produces $63,885 of wealth per year, more than their counterparts in all other countries, the International Labor Organization said in its report. Ireland comes in second at $55,986, ahead of Luxembourg, $55,641; Belgium, $55,235; and France, $54,609.

The productivity figure is found by dividing the country's gross domestic product by the number of people employed. The U.N. report is based on 2006 figures for many countries, or the most recent available.

Only part of the U.S. productivity growth, which has outpaced that of many other developed economies, can be explained by the longer hours Americans are putting in, the ILO said.

The U.S., according to the report, also beats all 27 nations in the European Union, Japan and Switzerland in the amount of wealth created per hour of work - a second key measure of productivity.

Norway, which is not an EU member, generates the most output per working hour, $37.99, a figure inflated by the country's billions of dollars in oil exports and high prices for goods at home. The U.S. is second at $35.63, about a half-dollar ahead of third-placed France.

Seven years ago, French workers produced over a dollar more on average than their American counterparts. The country led the U.S. in hourly productivity from 1994 to 2003.

The U.S. employee put in an average 1,804 hours of work in 2006, the report said. That compared with 1,407.1 hours for the Norwegian worker, and 1,564.4 for the French.

It pales, however, in comparison with the annual hours worked per person in Asia, where seven economies - South Korea, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia and Thailand - surpassed 2,200 average hours per worker. But those countries had lower productivity rates.

America's increased productivity "has to do with the ICT (information and communication technologies) revolution, with the way the U.S. organizes companies, with the high level of competition in the country, with the extension of trade and investment abroad," said Jose Manuel Salazar, the ILO's head of employment.

The ILO report warned that the widening of the gap between leaders such as the U.S. and poorer nations has been even more dramatic.

Laborers from regions such as southeast Asia, Latin America and the Middle East have the potential to create more wealth, but are being held back by a lack of investment in training, equipment and technology, the agency said.

In sub-Saharan Africa, workers are only about a twelfth as productive as those in developed countries, the report said.

"The huge gap in productivity and wealth is cause for great concern," ILO Director-General Juan Somavia said, adding that it was important to raise productivity levels of the lowest-paid workers in the world's poorest countries.

China and other East Asian countries are catching up quickest with Western countries. Productivity in the region has doubled in the past decade and is accelerating faster than anywhere else, the report said.

But they still have a long way to go: workers in East Asia are still only about a fifth as productive as laborers in industrialized countries.

The vast differences among China's sectors tell part of the story. Whereas a Chinese industrial worker produces $12,642 worth of output - almost eight times more than in 1980 - a laborer in the farm and fisheries sector contributes a paltry $910 to gross domestic product.

The difference is much less pronounced in the United States, where a manufacturing employee produced an unprecedented $104,606 of value in 2005. An American farm laborer, meanwhile, created $52,585 worth of output, down 10 percent from seven years ago, when U.S. agricultural productivity peaked.
© 2009 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
43 Comments Add a Comment
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victorlove1 says:
In America, This is how you "signify a quote"!

This &quot is &B>S>.
MoWork replies:
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Those are mistranslations of your browser software not anything those commenters wrote.
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klifton2-2009 says:
Depends how "productivity" is measured and by whom and for whom the results are meant. In the land of the pygmies, a 4-footer is a giant!
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dogsoul says:
"OK smart guy tell me what percent of the GDP is financial services, meaning stuff that has no reality and is just rich people creating wealth by increasing the money supply?"

Case in point, thank you for illustrating how liberals will discount such matters as financial services & real estate as literally non-existent, of course w/ the added bonus of claiming it''s some ''rich people''s'' scheme to rob the lower & middle classes... beautiful - couldn''t have timed or worded it better myself... bravo nimrod.... bravo....
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sharncedar says:
when it comes to such things as brain surgery or nat''''l economic policy - I''''d rather deal w/ the straight forward facts...

Posted by dogsoul at 12:45 PM : Sep 04, 2007

OK smart guy tell me what percent of the GDP is financial services, meaning stuff that has no reality and is just rich people creating wealth by increasing the money supply? You are so smart, let''s hear your "facts" on that one. Then tell me how much of the measurement of GDP used in this report was in fact value added in foreign countries via offshoring or products created in a foreign country but realize din the US with funny accounting. Then tell me how much of the GDP was related to phony asset bubbles, such as the "real estate industry" which is no industry at all, rather an asset bubble created by mismangement.

You may find your fabulous productivity is mostly smoke and mirrors.
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sharncedar says:
So, the United States of America is a republic but is not a democracy.
blah blah blah more lies
Posted by juwboy at 10:29 AM : Sep 04, 2007

What you are miscalling "democracy" is the concept of direct democracy, which exits nowhere and never will. I think you and your vicious friends use this concept of "Republic not a Democracy" as some kind of excuse for what is really Oligarchic rule, which is what you secretly believe in, and is not Democracy or Republic.

"Oligarchy (Greek %u1F48%u03BB%u03B9%u03B3%u03B1%u03C1%u03C7%u03AF%u03B1, Oligarkhma) is a form of government where political power effectively rests with a small, elite segment of society (whether distinguished by wealth, family or military powers)." (Wikipedia)
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dogsoul says:
''America''s increased productivity "has to do with the ICT (information and communication technologies) revolution, with the way the U.S. organizes companies, with the high level of competition in the country, with the extension of trade and investment abroad," said Jose Manuel Salazar, the ILO''s head of employment. ''

I SO love it when informed people talk about REAL variables that actually have an influence over the issues they discuss. First and foremost, the wealth of the United States is generated by way of the capitalist system & support structures in place - most are identifiable & measurable... Liberals, on the other hand, like to talk in vague sort of sentimental emotion-based nebulous mantras - and will often outright deny basic fact & fundamental concepts. They''ll say the economy is horrible when it''s great, they''ll say the US is NOT wealthy or claim it''s just the corporations & not the people, they''ll EVEN say things like GDP is a meaningless number... or desbribe economics 101 in classist marketing smippet terms like ''trickle down economics'' to try & evade simple truths... Now sure, if it''s poetry on the table for discussion - I say, liberals have AT it... but when it comes to such things as brain surgery or nat''l economic policy - I''d rather deal w/ the straight forward facts...

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perception5 says:
Thank you Mr. President and this great "GOP" economy for all these gains.

Wouldn''''t have the same results under a Socialist Democrat government. Especially with their mob-run union pals.

Productivity suffers when under "union" influence because mob-run unions fight change.

President Bush thanks for our great economy! Now if we could get the Democrats who control America''''s "deep blue" cities to "raise up" the poor people under "their" control we would be doing great.
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amycaruso says:
Then why the need for all of this outsourcing who''s products pose dangers for Americans and clog up our legal system?
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tyjohn47 says:
Let''s see we get more work done and we are ready, willing and able to put in long hours. Unfortunately, we also want pay and bennies equal to our efforts. So, in the world of stockholders and investors needing record setting profits like a drunk needs a drink or they will pull out and run away like the wind, yes, outsourcing wins!

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mcvet says:
we are a republic not a democracy. There is a difference.
Posted by rmsdm4 at 04:25 PM : Sep 03, 2007
+ report abuse

Not so... why people keep repeating this is beyond me but we CHANGED the Constitution to make it a true REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY a LONG time ago. A Republic is when the STATES appoint Representatives who then represent the Federal Government. That was the case in the begining, the elected officials of the several states got together and appointed the senators from that state. As well we had what was know then as "States Rights" where one state could ignore or overlook the rights of citizens of another state. The 14th Amendment stopped that dead in it''s tracks. A lot of VERY good and honorable men died ending States Rights and GOOD people stopped state officials from appointing senators. Sieg Heil Bush!!
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