Koreans Work Longest Hours: ILO
By Kim Rahn
Korean employees work for the longest hours, according to a report, Monday, but their productivity per person is only about 68 percent of that of Americans, which is the world's highest.
The ``Key Indicators of the Labor Market'' released by the International Labor Organization (ILO) said the annual hours worked per person in six Asian economies surpassed 2,200, with South Korea at the top, followed by Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand.
The ranking was based on data from 52 economies, so it can be said that among at least 52 countries, Korean workers stay at work for the longest hours.
The working hours were about 600 hours longer than those in many European countries.
But the report also said there was a decreasing trend in the number of annual hours worked in most countries, and the largest decrease was found in Korea, followed by Ireland, Japan, France and Spain.
Despite the long hours, Korea's productivity was equivalent to about 68 percent of that of the U.S., which was the highest in the world, in 2005.
However, Korea's overall productivity growth rate increased by 4.8 percent annually, from 28 percent of that of the U.S. in 1980. The annual growth of China was 5.7 percent.
Korea's annual average growth rate of labor productivity in the manufacturing field between 1980 and 2005 was 7.4 percent, one of the world's highest, following 10.2 percent in Slovakia, 8.1 percent in Ireland, 7.9 percent in China and 7.6 percent in Poland.
The value added per person employed in Korea in the manufacturing sector was about 50 percent of that of the U.S. in 2005, while that in the transport and communications field was 45 percent of the U.S. level in 2004. The value added in the wholesale and retail trade sector was less than 25 percent of that of the U.S. in 2004.