How much GDP output does one hour of work produce on average?
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Labour productivity is is the amount of goods and services that a group of workers produce in a given amount of time. It’s an interesting qualitative indicator of the labour input.
We can see on this map, the higher labour productivity can be found in East Asia. The labour productivity is much lower in parts of Southeast Asia. Service based economies usually have a higher labour productivity. The highest labour productivity can be found in Singapore ($54.55), followed by Hong Kong ($49.12) and Taiwan ($46.01).
Cambodia has the lowest labour productivity in Asia ($3.43), followed by Bangladesh ($4.79) and Myanmar ($5.15).
Interestingly, China has one of the lowest labour productivities in Asia, despite being one of the world’s biggest economies. Despite its rapid development, China’s economy still relies a lot on the manufacturing and export of goods that are made with low-cost labour. Apart from that, Chinese companies, especially state owned enterprises, are notoriously ineffective. China also has a lot of so-called ‘zombie companies’. Which are companies that are practically bankrupt and run their operations at a constant loss. They are kept alive with loans and subsidies from the local government, as it desperately needs those companies to stay alive for tax revenues.
For the western half of Asia there was only data for Israel ($40.87) and Turkey ($43.69).
Recently, we already looked at the labour productivity in Europe before. The higher end of Asia would fit just behind the western half of Europe in terms of labour productivity. The country with the lowest labour productivity in Europe (Bulgaria $26.55), would still do quite well compared to a lot of Asian countries.
This data comes from the University of Groningen.