Top Countries by Labor Productivity 1970/2022

From the first industrial revolution to the 21st century, productivity has steadily increased. In fact, thanks to the use of increasingly technological machinery, what was impossible to do just a few centuries ago has now become a reality. The increase in production and productivity has also led over time to a decrease in hours worked and people involved in the labor market. Child labor has decreased over time and so have the hours worked. In 1870 in the United Kingdom, the leading nation of the first industrial revolution, male and female workers worked an average of 2755 hours. A figure that dropped by more than 1,000 hours in 2017. But at the same time, how much does each hour worked generate in GDP? What is the productivity per hour worked? In this new article we will look at some of these elements. Labor Productivity.

Labor Productivity

Which nations have the highest GDP per hour worked? The data refer to 2021 and were published in a recent OECD report. The figure was calculated in U.S. dollars. The first nation that is among the most industrially developed countries is Ireland. Ireland generates $128.21 in GDP per hour worked. A figure that definitely places it among the top nations. In fact, in second position, we find Luxembourg, which, however, has a value of less than $100 and is 99.03. The gap between second and third place is also wide, as well as from third to fourth. Indeed, in third position we find Norway with $84.37 per hour worked and in fourth position Switzerland with $76.63. In the top positions worldwide we find the United States. In fact, the great American state has a value of $74.84 per hour worked.

In the top 10 positions for GDP per hour worked we find another of the world’s most industrialized countries-Germany. The value in this case is $68.30 per hour worked. The average for the euro area countries is $60.76 while the European Union as a whole, with 27 countries, has a value of $55.30. But how has the figure evolved? In the United States, in 1970, the GDP produced per hour worked was $33.71. This value steadily increased until it exceeded $50 in 1990 and reached a record high just in 2021 with $74.84.

GDP per hour worked

GDP per hour worked is a measure of labor productivity (OECD source). This ratio measures the efficiency with which labor input is combined with other factors of production and used throughout the production process. Labor input is defined as the total hours worked by all persons engaged in production. Labor productivity only partially reflects labor productivity in terms of workers’ personal capabilities or the intensity of their effort. The relationship between the measure of output and labor input depends largely on the presence and/or use of other inputs (e.g., capital, intermediate inputs, technical, organizational and efficiency changes, economies of scale). This indicator is measured in dollars (constant 2010 prices and PPP) and indices.

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