October, 2001, Vol. 124, No. 10
Labor month in review
Annual pay trends
Wages in foreign factories
The October Review
The services industry division is often alleged to be "recession-proof." Like many other strong generalizations about large groups, this statement is not quite universally true. For one thing, William C. Goodman shows early on in his article that while the division may not lose jobs in NBER-designated periods of recession, the rate of job growth drops significantly. As this would lead one to suspect, there are indeed important segments of the services division that do decline in employment during recession. Perhaps most notable among these are engineering and management services, personal services, and miscellaneous repair services. Only the health care industry bucks the trend by adding significantly more jobs in times of economic decline than it does during expansions.
Retirement, we have heard it said, will be the "health care issue" of the coming decades in that it will be the central concern of senior policymakers and social scientists. Murray Gendell traces the evolution of the average age of retirement in his article. He finds that the average age of retirement began to decline again in the 1990s after pausing in the 1970s and 1980s. According to Gendell’s calculations, retirement ages declined by 5 years or more from the early 1950s to the early 1970s, were roughly stable in the late 1970s through the 1980s, and have edged down in the 1990s.
Maury Gittleman and William J. Wiatrowski provide a guide to using and understanding the wage query section of the Bureau’s latest data extraction tool. In addition to a brief look at the mechanics of using the one-screen Create Customized Tables tool, Gittleman and Wiatrowski explain the statistical infrastructure of the model-based estimates that are a unique feature of the wage query system.
In 2000, the labor productivity growth rate for manufacturing was the highest in the United States among the 10 countries for which comparable data were available. The labor productivity increase in the United States was 7.1 percent, followed by 6.0 percent and 5.8 percent in Germany and France, respectively. The productivity growth rates in Canada and Norway were the lowest among the countries compared, at 1.2 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively. Additional information is available in "International Comparisons of Manufacturing Productivity and Unit Labor Cost Trends, 2000," news release USDL 01–280.
Annual pay trends
The average annual pay of U.S. workers rose by 5.9 percent in 2000, according to preliminary data. This compares with a 4.4-percent rise in 1999. This pay growth in 2000 was the highest in the 1990–2000 period. Moreover, the 2000 increase in average annual pay was the largest since 1982, when pay rose by 6.7 percent.
Massachusetts and California experienced the largest percentage increases in average annual pay from 1999 to 2000 (9.8 and 9.6 percent, respectively). Massachusetts’ strong performance reflected above-average pay growth in nearly all the major industries, especially in finance, insurance, and real estate (16.5 percent), services (11.9 percent), and manufacturing (10.7 percent). In California, the largest percentage increases in pay and occurred in manufacturing (16.2 percent), services (12.2 percent), and finance, insurance, and real estate (10.0 percent).
Among industry divisions, the largest over-the-year percentage pay increase in the private sector was registered in the finance, insurance, and real estate division (9.1 percent) in 2000. The next largest were in manufacturing and services (6.8 percent each), followed by mining (6.4 percent). The smallest pay gain in 2000 among the major private industry divisions occurred in the transportation, communications, and public utilities industry (4.4 percent). The annual pay increase for the public sector, which includes Federal, State, and local government, was 4.1 percent.
Find more information on pay in 2000 in "Average Annual Pay By State and Industry, 2000," news release USDL 01–295.
Wages in foreign factories
Average hourly compensation costs in U.S. dollars for production workers in manufacturing in 28 foreign economies declined to 76 percent of the U.S. level in 2000 from 80 percent in 1999. Compensation costs relative to the United States continued to decline in Canada and throughout Europe in 2000, while relative costs rose in Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Taiwan.
The recent decline of relative compensation costs in 17 European economies studied resulted in higher compensation costs in the United States than in Europe for the first time since 1989. In 2000, average costs in the United States were 7 percent higher than for Europe, after being 7 percent lower in 1999. Additional information is available in "International Comparisons of Hourly Compensation Costs for Production Workers in Manufacturing, 2000," news release USDL 01–311.
Communications regarding the Monthly Labor Review may be sent to the Editor-in-Chief at 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Room 2850, Washington, DC, 20212, or faxed to (202) 6917890.
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers