July 30, 2003
In 2002, real GDP (in 1999 U.S. dollars) per employed person was $71,638 in the United States. In Canada it was $59,438; and in Japan, $51,636.
Gross domestic product (GDP) is the most comprehensive measure of a country's economic output, being the value of all market and some non-market goods and services produced within its territory.
GDP per employed person can provide a general picture of a country's overall productivity; this is only an approximate indicator of productivity, however, because using the number of persons employed as a measure of labor input ignores differences in the number of hours worked and in the skill levels of different people.
In each country's national statistics, GDP is valued in terms of its national currency units. Therefore, these results have to be converted to some common unit of value before they can be compared directly. In these statistics all GDP series are converted to U.S. dollars through the use of purchasing power parities (PPPs). They are expressed in constant 1999 U.S. dollars.
PPPs are indexes constructed for the purpose of comparing relative prices across countries. They are somewhat analogous to a price index, such as a consumer price index used within a country to compare changes in prices over time. Just as a consumer price index measures the cost of a basket of goods and services over time, PPPs can be used to measure the cost of a particular basket of goods and services across countries at a point in time.
These data are from the Foreign Labor Statistics program. For more information see "Comparative Real Gross Domestic Product per Capita and per Employed Person, Fourteen Countries, 1960-2002" (TXT) (PDF).