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."
The average 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, followed by Luxembourg at $55,641, Belgium at $55,235 and France at $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-place 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, the AP reports.
The report also provided more insight into what the ILO calls international "decent work deficits" - work that isn't productive or delivers a fair income, is insecure and fails to provide social protection for families.
ILO said 1.5 billion people in the world – or one third of the working-age population – were “potentially underutilised”. This includes the 195.7 million unemployed people across the world, and nearly 1.3 billion working poor who live with their families on less than $2.40 per family member each day.
"Whereas the unemployed want to work but lack the opportunity to do so, the working poor are working but do not earn enough to escape poverty, " Mr Somavia said.
Hundreds of millions of women and men are working hard and long but without the conditions they need to lift themselves and their families out of poverty, news.com.au reports.
"These people risk falling deeper into poverty. Releasing their underutilised capacities by raising their productive potential must be at the top of the international development agenda.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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