NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 5, 2007

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, according to the United Nation's (UN) International Labor Organization (ILO).


  • The average U.S. worker produces $63,885 of wealth per year, more than their counterparts in all other countries.
  • Ireland comes in second at $55,986, followed by Luxembourg at $55,641, Belgium at $55,235, and France at $54,609.


  • The United States beats all 27 nations in the European Union (EU), 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 United States is second at $35.63, about a half dollar ahead of third-place France.

The ILO report also warns that the widening gap between leaders and poorer nations has been even more dramatic:

  • In sub-Saharan Africa, workers are only about one-twelfth as productive as those in developed countries.
  • China and other East Asian countries are catching up quickest, but they still have a long way to go -- workers in East Asia are only about one-fifth as productive as laborers in industrialized countries.

Laborers from 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.

Source: Bradley S. Klapper, "Report: U.S. Workers Are Most Productive," Associated Press, September 3, 2007.


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