Top 15 Countries by Productivity per Hour Worked – 1950/2017

Productivity has always been a key element in the economic development of nations. In this article we are going to analyze which are the Top 15 Countries by Productivity per Hour Worked from 1950 to 2017. Data sources are diverse including National Accounts, ICP Benchmark data, and Our World in Data.

Top 15 Countries by Productivity per Hour Worked in 2017

The economic development of a country is often identified and quantified with labor productivity. Labor productivity is an hourly measurement of how much product is created and generated by each worker. In essence, it indicates how much a worker produces in an hour. The greater the value the more an individual worker produces.

In today’s article we’re going to find out which are the top nations in the world for productivity per hour worked.

Let’s start with the most recent data. The nation in the world with the highest productivity, in terms of dollars, per hour, is Ireland. This nation in fact has a value of productivity that reaches almost 100 dollars per hour. A very high figure that, for example, is almost double the value of the fifteenth nation in this ranking, Finland. In second place we find Norway, with over 80 dollars per hour. And from third to seventh place we find countries with a value ranging from 69.26 dollars (Switzerland) to 61.43 in the Netherlands.

If we turn the clock back almost 70 years, the figures are completely different. In the first 15 positions we always find Ireland, but with a value of 4.65 dollars per hour worked. In first place is the United States with a figure of over 18 dollars per hour. This is followed by Switzerland and Australia. Overall in the top 5 positions there are only 2 European countries. This is completely different from 2017 where the first 5 countries are all part of Europe. In the top 15 positions we also find Australia, Canada and Mexico which in 1950 was in 12th position.

Top Countries by Productivity in the last 10 years

To get a clearer picture of what has happened over the past 10 years, it is interesting to analyze the table below. Ireland, for example, in 2007 was in the group of other countries. From 2009 onwards, after the first financial crisis, it has managed to raise its value enormously and to detach itself from the other countries of Europe and beyond. Germany, France, Belgium and others have, on balance, the same values as in 2007.

There is also a fact to note. In 2015, Ireland’s GDP grew by 26.3%. A figure that has certainly caused debate, not least because of the country’s fiscal choices. But which is nonetheless interesting for statistical purposes given the strong impact it also had on hourly productivity in dollar terms.

Countries where people work the most hours

In 2017, in which nation, on average, do you work the most per year? The nation where people work the most is Cambodia. In fact, the average hours worked is 2455 hours per year. Next, with about 18 hours difference on average, is Myannmar. These two nations are the only ones in the world that exceed 2400 hours per year. In third place, on the other hand, is Mexico, with 2255, followed by a series of countries, including Malaysia and South Africa, which have a value of 2200 hours and 2250.

Among the nations that have a value between 2100 and 2200 hours we also find the 2 countries in the world with the most inhabitants. China, which has a value of 2174 hours and India with 2117 hours.

At the level of Continents, it is interesting to note that in 2017 most of the states are Asian. In fact, among the top 15 nations in the world, as many as 11 are part of the Asian continent. 2 are part of America (Latin America), 1 of Oceania and 1 of Africa. There are no nations from Europe.

A completely different figure from 1870 where of the first 15 nations in the world, 11 were European and 0 were from Asia.

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How is the parameter calculated? (Source Our World in Data). “Labor productivity per hour is measured as gross domestic product (GDP) per hour of work. GDP is measured in constant 2011 international-$, which means it is adjusted for price differences between countries (PPP adjustment) and for inflation to allow comparisons between countries and over time”.

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