Hope you had a nice Labor Day weekend. You earned it. You worked hard. In fact, according to the International Labour Organization, you worked harder than everyone else. The ILO released a report yesterday showing that American workers were the most productive in the world.
Actually, it's not that you necessarily worked harder; many workers put in longer hours. Americans worked an average of 1,804 hours in 2006. Workers in seven Asian nations, including South Korea and China, averaged more than 2,200 hours. (Not surprisingly, the French rolled in for a total of only 1,564 hours.)
But as we've said in this space many times, it's not about the hours you work; it's about the value you create.
According to the report, the average American worker produced $63,885 of wealth in 2006, far more than the number-two producers, the Irish, who averaged $55,986. What is more, the productivity gap between Americans and workers in other developed countries continued to widen.
Here's the ILO's explanation for the productivity increase:
Increase in productivity is mainly the result of firms better combining capital, labour and technology. A lack of investment in people (training and skills) as well as equipment and technology can lead to an underutilization of the labour potential in the world.
It says here that the more gruntled employees are, the more productive they are. Maybe American workers are more gruntled than their international counterparts.
The ILO is a UN agency based in Geneva. The report, called "Key Indicators of the Labour Market, 5th Edition," is available here. (From that page, you can either download a Windows-application version of the report — but why would you? — or you can download PDFs of the report in chunks.) The ILO's press release on the report is here, and The New York Times reports on it here (login may be required). The AP story, via The Boston Globe, is here.