Americans have always been hard workers. The Puritan work ethic and the American dream mesh to fuel our dreams and desires with solid hard work. Despite those who get plenty of press for wanting to live off the government or wait around to strike it rich via lottery or lawsuit, most Americans know full well that the prizes in life are awarded to those who work to get them.
Recent studies and comparisons have shown that Americans spend far more time in the workplace than other developed nations. The average American spent 1,804 hours at work – be it an office, shop or farm. This breaks down to about 35 hours a week, assuming no holidays or time off, which we know is not the case. By comparison, Norwegians worked 1,401 hours and the French worked 1,564.
Not only are Americans putting in extra time, they are actually producing more while they are there. Americans generate $35.63 for every hour working. This is beaten only by Norway which is not part of the Untied Nations which created the study.
The Perks of Technology
Now, countries in Asia, such as South Korea, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia and Thailand had workers working for over 2,200 hours. Unfortunately, these workers have a very low overall productivity despite their hard work. Lack of training and technology holds back the productivity in many countries. Countries which invest heavily in information technology and training have been gaining in productivity.
The United States’ productivity and earnings per individual is also given a boost by the fierce competition in the country as well as the extensive outsourcing and global cooperation. Other countries with high IT investments and developments are moving ahead in productivity and output.
China and other countries in East Asia are catching up to the Western counties, but those in southern Africa and South America are struggling to keep up. In fact the gap is beginning to widen more dramatically between leaders in the economic race and those that fall behind. Even though China and others have doubled their productivity in the last ten years, they are still five times less productive than more developed nations. Their rate of growth is the fastest in the world, however. Once the disparities between various work sectors in the countries become less pronounced, the gap should close even more.
The Bottom Line
Working Americans generate $63,885 each of the country’s wealth. Some of this has to do with longer hours at the office, but not all. Americans not only work longer, they work smarter thanks to constantly improving technology and communication.
The United States is not always popular with other countries, and their politics and lifestyle are not welcomed in many places. Despite this, the United Nations claims that Americans are the hardest workers in the world. With so many dedicated citizens working and arriving ready to work to get ahead and make their own dreams come true, this really shouldn’t be too hard to believe.