Special Report

The Most Productive Countries in the World

Wara1982 / Getty Images

The United States has been experiencing one of its longest periods of economic prosperity in ages. The country has had its longest ever period of uninterrupted monthly employment growth, adding jobs every month since October 2010. Since the end of 2009, GDP has expanded without interruption. It is the largest highly-affluent nation on earth, but adjusting for population, it is barely among the 10 most productive nations.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed World Bank data on the 50 countries with the highest GDP per person employed in 2018. These nations, some of which represent the economic powerhouses of the world, range in population from major countries like the United States, to small but influential nations and special administrative regions like Qatar and Hong Kong with populations smaller than many U.S. states.

Many of the most productive nations on the planet benefit from a wealth of natural resources. In Middle Eastern nations such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, petroleum activity accounts for a large share of GDP. However, in many of the world’s most oil-rich countries, petroleum reserves and factors of production are almost entirely owned by national oil companies — and not all citizens benefit equally. Indeed, GDP per person employed is not the same as average personal wealth.

Some countries, lacking natural resources or other major economic advantages, have successfully adopted targeted development plans that focus on strengthening specific aspects of their economies. Macao, for example, legalized gambling in the 19th century and has since developed into a tourism hub for much of Asia.

Source: Diether / Wikimedia Commons

45. Poland
> GDP per person employed: $61,557
> Gross domestic product: $549.5 billion
> Unemployment rate: 4.1%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 2,039

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Source: mtcurado / Getty Images

44. Gabon
> GDP per person employed: $62,111
> Gross domestic product: $17.2 billion
> Unemployment rate: N/A
> Avg. annual hours worked: N/A

Source: Roman Babakin / Getty Images

43. Lithuania
> GDP per person employed: $62,442
> Gross domestic product: $52.5 billion
> Unemployment rate: 6.5%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,834

Source: silverjohn / Getty Images

42. Iran
> GDP per person employed: $64,136
> Gross domestic product: $430.1 billion
> Unemployment rate: 12.8%
> Avg. annual hours worked: N/A

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Source: Kalamazadkhan / Wikimedia Commons

41. Trinidad and Tobago
> GDP per person employed: $65,813
> Gross domestic product: $23.3 billion
> Unemployment rate: 5.0%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,583

Source: QQ7 / Getty Images

40. Slovakia
> GDP per person employed: $66,446
> Gross domestic product: $106.9 billion
> Unemployment rate: 7.5%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,763

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Source: Aetherial / Getty Images

39. Greece
> GDP per person employed: $67,610
> Gross domestic product: $218.1 billion
> Unemployment rate: 19.9%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 2,042

Source: DaLiu / Getty Images

38. Czech Republic
> GDP per person employed: $67,696
> Gross domestic product: $244.5 billion
> Unemployment rate: 2.5%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,771

Source: Marcus Holland-Moritz / Wikimedia Commons

37. New Zealand
> GDP per person employed: $69,956
> Gross domestic product: $206.0 billion
> Unemployment rate: 4.5%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,762

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Source: Reabirdna / Getty Images

36. South Korea
> GDP per person employed: $71,077
> Gross domestic product: $1.7 trillion
> Unemployment rate: 3.7%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 2,124

Source: Mostafameraji / Wikimedia Commons

35. Oman
> GDP per person employed: $71,186
> Gross domestic product: $81.7 billion
> Unemployment rate: N/A
> Avg. annual hours worked: N/A

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Source: kasto80 / Getty Images

34. Slovenia
> GDP per person employed: $73,199
> Gross domestic product: $55.0 billion
> Unemployment rate: 5.8%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,561

Source: B.alotaby / Wikimedia Commons

33. Bahrain
> GDP per person employed: $73,208
> Gross domestic product: $39.3 billion
> Unemployment rate: 3.8%
> Avg. annual hours worked: N/A

Source: Seqoya / Getty Images

32. Turkey
> GDP per person employed: $73,665
> Gross domestic product: $713.5 billion
> Unemployment rate: 11.0%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,832

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Source: Keith Pomakis / Wikimedia Commons

31. Japan
> GDP per person employed: $77,262
> Gross domestic product: $5.1 trillion
> Unemployment rate: 2.9%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,729

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

30. Israel
> GDP per person employed: $79,182
> Gross domestic product: $365.6 billion
> Unemployment rate: 3.9%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,880

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Source: Moyan Brenn from Anzio, Italy / Wikimedia Commons

29. Iceland
> GDP per person employed: $80,508
> Gross domestic product: $26.7 billion
> Unemployment rate: 3.2%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,864

Source: Leonid Andronov / iStock

28. United Kingdom
> GDP per person employed: $80,545
> Gross domestic product: $2.8 trillion
> Unemployment rate: 4.1%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,675

Source: Diliff / Wikimedia Commons

27. Spain
> GDP per person employed: $84,155
> Gross domestic product: $1.4 trillion
> Unemployment rate: 15.6%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,689

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Source: Maria Azzurra Mugnai / Wikimedia Commons

26. Canada
> GDP per person employed: $86,418
> Gross domestic product: $1.7 trillion
> Unemployment rate: 6.1%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,688

Source: Boguslaw Garbacz / Wikimedia Commons

25. Malta
> GDP per person employed: $90,841
> Gross domestic product: $14.3 billion
> Unemployment rate: 4.1%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,962

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Source: Stefan Kühn / Wikimedia Commons

24. Germany
> GDP per person employed: $91,770
> Gross domestic product: $4.0 trillion
> Unemployment rate: 3.5%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,371

Source: africanpix / Getty Images

23. Australia
> GDP per person employed: $91,885
> Gross domestic product: $1.4 trillion
> Unemployment rate: 5.3%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,803

Source: scanrail / Getty Images

22. Finland
> GDP per person employed: $92,576
> Gross domestic product: $276.6 billion
> Unemployment rate: 7.7%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,643

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Source: MissPassionPhotography / Getty Images

21. Denmark
> GDP per person employed: $95,225
> Gross domestic product: $354.7 billion
> Unemployment rate: 5.4%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,438

Source: pipimaru / Wikimedia Commons

20. Austria
> GDP per person employed: $95,292
> Gross domestic product: $459.4 billion
> Unemployment rate: 5.2%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,629

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Source: manjik / Getty Images

19. France
> GDP per person employed: $95,712
> Gross domestic product: $2.8 trillion
> Unemployment rate: 8.8%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,473

Source: vwalakte / Getty Images

18. Italy
> GDP per person employed: $97,318
> Gross domestic product: $2.1 trillion
> Unemployment rate: 10.8%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,734

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

17. Netherlands
> GDP per person employed: $97,349
> Gross domestic product: $909.9 billion
> Unemployment rate: 3.9%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,420

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Source: Kabelleger / David Gubler / Wikimedia Commons

16. Sweden
> GDP per person employed: $98,396
> Gross domestic product: $554.7 billion
> Unemployment rate: 6.2%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,609

Source: Basil D Soufi / Wikimedia Commons

15. United Arab Emirates
> GDP per person employed: $101,641
> Gross domestic product: $432.6 billion
> Unemployment rate: N/A
> Avg. annual hours worked: N/A

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Source: AleksandarGeorgiev / Getty Images

14. Switzerland
> GDP per person employed: $103,810
> Gross domestic product: $709.1 billion
> Unemployment rate: 2.8%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,568

Source: Francisco Antunes / Flickr

13. Belgium
> GDP per person employed: $104,033
> Gross domestic product: $536.1 billion
> Unemployment rate: 6.4%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,575

Source: Sergio Calleja (Life is a trip) / Wikimedia Commons

12. French Polynesia
> GDP per person employed: $111,572
> Gross domestic product: N/A
> Unemployment rate: N/A
> Avg. annual hours worked: N/A

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Source: WiNG / Wikimedia Commons

11. Hong Kong SAR
> GDP per person employed: $111,637
> Gross domestic product: $360.3 billion
> Unemployment rate: 2.0%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 2,234

Source: frankpeters / iStock

10. United States
> GDP per person employed: $115,484
> Gross domestic product: $20.5 trillion
> Unemployment rate: 3.8%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,765

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Source: swisshippo / Getty Images

9. Saudi Arabia
> GDP per person employed: $123,254
> Gross domestic product: $769.9 billion
> Unemployment rate: N/A
> Avg. annual hours worked: N/A

Source: Anson Fernandez Dionisio / Getty Images

8. Kuwait
> GDP per person employed: $128,031
> Gross domestic product: $144.5 billion
> Unemployment rate: 1.1%
> Avg. annual hours worked: N/A

Source: Ximonic (Simo Räsänen) / Wikimedia Commons

7. Norway
> GDP per person employed: $128,152
> Gross domestic product: $441.4 billion
> Unemployment rate: 3.8%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,427

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Source: chensiyuan / Wikimedia Commons

6. Singapore
> GDP per person employed: $150,843
> Gross domestic product: $346.6 billion
> Unemployment rate: 2.0%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 2,263

Source: IgorP1976 / Getty Images

5. Brunei Darussalam
> GDP per person employed: $154,946
> Gross domestic product: $14.7 billion
> Unemployment rate: 6.9%
> Avg. annual hours worked: N/A

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Source: Ahmed_Abdel_Hamid / Getty Images

4. Qatar
> GDP per person employed: $158,032
> Gross domestic product: $188.3 billion
> Unemployment rate: N/A
> Avg. annual hours worked: N/A

Source: yktr / Getty Images

3. Ireland
> GDP per person employed: $160,809
> Gross domestic product: $366.4 billion
> Unemployment rate: 5.3%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,821

Source: Jui-Chi Chan / Getty Images

2. Macao SAR
> GDP per person employed: $179,392
> Gross domestic product: $54.0 billion
> Unemployment rate: N/A
> Avg. annual hours worked: N/A

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Source: Vincent de Groot - http://www.videgro.net / Wikimedia Commons

1. Luxembourg
> GDP per person employed: $224,334
> Gross domestic product: $69.0 billion
> Unemployment rate: 5.4%
> Avg. annual hours worked: 1,502

Methodology

To identify the most productive countries in the world, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the countries with the highest GDP per person employed in 2018 from the World Bank. Population statistics were obtained from the World Bank and are as of 2018.

GDP per person employed is gross domestic product (GDP) divided by total employment in the economy. Purchasing power parity (PPP) GDP is GDP converted to 2011 constant international dollars using PPP rates. An international dollar has the same purchasing power over GDP that a U.S. dollar has in the United States.

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