Sunday, September 2, 2007 0 comments ++[ CLICK TO COMMENT ]++

Let's Look at Labour During the Labour Day Holiday

National Holidays

Here's a graphic from the New York Times pointing out national holidays in select countries:

(source: More Days Off? Better Move to Colombia , Sept 2, 2007, New York Times)

For reference, Canada has 10 national holidays (my province also has one extra holiday (Civic Day)).

What I find interesting is that Japan has 50% more holidays than USA (15 vs 10). I should also note that some countries may have a low number of national holidays while employers provide more vacation time. European countries typically provide longer paid vacation.

American Productivity Leads

Productivity is arguably the most important measure for an economy when looking at labour. According to this story from BusinessWeek, USA had the highest productivity. The way some of these things are measured are too simplistic IMO but, nevertheless, they provide some rough indication.

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.

Wealth per hour of work has also significantly improved for USA in the last 7 years, with USA overtaking France.

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.

As has been the case in the last hundread years or so, technology and science play a critical role in boosting productivity.

America's increased productivity "has to do with the ICT (information and communication technologies) revolution, with the way the U.S. organizes companies, with the high level of competition in the country, with the extension of trade and investment abroad," said Jose Manuel Salazar, the ILO's head of employment.

Other countries are catching up to some degree...

China and other East Asian countries are catching up quickest with Western countries. Productivity in the region has doubled in the past decade and is accelerating faster than anywhere else, the report said.
But they still have a long way to go: Workers in East Asia are still only about one-fifth as productive as laborers in industrialized countries.

So, all you American workers, pat yourself on the back. Good job :) The only concern I have is that there is too much use of debt in USA (and Canada). Other than that, things are looking good IMO...


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