Report: U.S. Remains on Top in Terms Worker Productivity

September 4, 2007 ( - The U.S. was still the front runner in labor productivity in 2006, but other regions like South Asia, East Asia and Central and South-Eastern Europe are beginning to raise their productivity levels, according to figures from the International Labour Organization (ILO).

According to a press release about the report, a major cause of world poverty is waste of workers’ productive potential.

The productivity gap between the U.S. and most other developed economies continued to widen in 2006, with $63,885 of value added per person employed in the U.S. and Ireland the next in line with $55,986 per person, followed by Luxembourg ($55,641), Belgium ($55,235) and France ($54,609).

Americans work more hours per year than workers in most other developed economies, but were not the most productive per hour. For added value per hour worked, Norway posted the greatest productivity level ($37.99), followed by the U.S. ($35.63) and France ($35.08).

East Asia showed the most rapid improvement in productivity levels, with output per worker up from one-eighth in 1996 to one-fifth of the level found in the industrialized countries in 2006. South-East Asia & the Pacific productivity levels were seven times less and in South Asia eight times less than in the industrialized countries.

Value added per employee in the Middle East and Latin America and the Caribbean was nearly three times less than it is in developed economies. The gap was even wider when looking at the value added in Central & South Eastern Europe (non-EU), where the level is 3.5 times less than developed countries and four times less in North Africa.

The widest gap was in sub-Saharan Africa where the productivity level per person employed is one-twelfth of that of a worker in the industrialized countries.

The figures on productivity come from the ILO report, entitled “Key Indicators of the Labour Market (KILM), fifth Edition.” For the full report go here.