Baltic workers increasingly productive

  • 2007-09-05
  • By Mike Collier
Workers in the Baltic states are among the most productive in Eastern Europe, according to new data from the UN's International Labor Office.

Leading the way by a clear margin is Estonia, where each person adds value equivalent to 43,232 US dollars to the economy each year. Latvia ranks next with 28,650 dollars and Lithuania is not far behind on 24,877. With the exception of Slovakia (28,209 dollars), the Baltic states trump all other Eastern European states including Hungary with 23,788 dollars, Poland with 23,667 dollars, the Czech Republic with 23,452 dollars, Bulgaria with 16,218 dollars and Romania with 10,196 dollars produced by each employee.

While productivity levels have increased worldwide over the past decade, gaps remain wide between the industrialized region and most others.

The ILO report, published Sep. 5, entitled "Key Indicators of the Labour Market (KILM), fifth Edition" indicates that the U.S. still leads the world in labour productivity per person employed in 2006 despite a rapid increase of productivity in East Asia where workers now produce twice as much as they did 10 years ago.

With 63,885 dollars of value added per person employed in 2006, the United States was followed at a considerable distance by Ireland (55,986 dollars), Luxembourg (55,641 dollars), Belgium (55,235 dollars) and France (54,609 dollars).

However, Americans work more hours per year than workers in most other developed economies. This is why, measured as value added per hour worked, Norway actually has the highest labour productivity level (37.99 dollars per hour), followed by the U.S. (35.63) and France (35.08).

The report says that increases in productivity are mainly the result of firms better combining capital, labour and technology. A lack of investment in training and skills is a major factor in keeping productivity levels low, it adds.