With one seventh as many employees as IBM, Apple generates 13 times more profit

In most recent quarter. Source: Google Finance, Apple Inc. Click to enlarge.

As of September, Apple AAPL had 60,400 full-time equivalent employees, according to the SEC Form 10-K it filed Wednesday, nearly 30% more than the 46,600 it reported in Q4 2010.

But those employees generate more profit per capita — by far — than any of Apple’s peers in the industry.

In the quarter that ended in September — not its best, mind you — the company generated sales of $28.3 billion and net income of $6.62 billion, or nearly $110,000 profit per employee.

Source: Google Finance, Company reports

That’s a useful metric because it gives you a yardstick by which to compare companies of very different sizes. Giant IBM IBM , for example, with more than 425,000 employees, generated less than $9,000 profit per employee last quarter. Amazon’s AMZN 43,000 workers are even less efficient, bringing in only $1,458 apiece.

Apple came out on top in a similar survey that Pingdom ran last spring using annual rather than quarterly net income — thus generating numbers roughly four times larger. Below, their chart from May comparing 2011 to 2008, when Google GOOG was at the top of the heap.

Source: pingdom.com

NOTE: An earlier version of this story reported profit per employee in millions, rather than thousands of dollars. Rookie math error, but what’s a few orders of magnitude among friends?