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Last Updated: Monday, 3 September 2007, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK
US workers top productivity table
A worker at a cold storage warehouse in Vernon, California
US workers are 14% more productive than the best of the rest
Workers in the US are still more productive per person than any others in the world, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) says in a report.

In 2006 each US worker produced $63,885 (31,651) of wealth, well ahead of second placed Ireland at $55,986.

But East Asian staff are the most improved - they are now twice as productive as they were 10 years ago.

The ILO productivity figure is found by dividing a country's total output in a year by the number of people employed.

However, the report added that there is still a big productivity gap between the most industrialised nations and the rest of the world.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the lowest productivity, managing only a quarter of the global average.

A factory worker in Avissawella in Sri Lanka
USA $63,885
Middle East $21,910
Global average $19,834
LatAm & Caribbean $18,908
North Africa $12,967
East Asia $12,591
SE Asia & Pacific $9,419
South Asia $7,998
Sub-Saharan Africa $5,062
Source: ILO Estimates

Meanwhile, the US figure is boosted by Americans working more hours per year than workers in most developed countries.

Using a different measure of value added per hour worked, Norway comes out on top, followed by the US and then France.

Most improved

Worker productivity levels increased between 1996 and 2006 in all regions except the Middle East.

East Asia made the greatest advances, with output per worker rising from $6,347 in 1996 to $12,591 last year.

In the Middle East it fell from $22,130 to $21,910.

But growth in South-East Asia and the Pacific has been relatively stagnant, with productivity up to just $9,419 from $8,068.

"Development in Southeast Asia and the Pacific has been less impressive than East Asia," the ILO report said.

"Nevertheless, the region has profited from the economic boom in China and India and the good economic performance of most developed economies in recent years," it added.

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