International average of factory worker compensation falls relative to U.S.
October 22, 1998
The trade-weighted average hourly compensation costs for manufacturing production workers in 28 foreign economies was 16 percent lower than similar costs in the United States in 1997. This gap was only 5 percent in 1995 and 9 percent in 1996. Overall, the average cost level for the 28 foreign economies studied decreased 2.4 percent.
The largest cost reductions among the countries studied occurred in Europe. Translated into dollars, hourly compensation costs in Switzerland fell by nearly 15 percent and five other European economies had declines of over 10 percent in 1997. Despite these declines, manufacturing compensation costs in Europe tended to be higher. For example, even after falling by 11 percent over the year, Germany’s compensation costs ($28.28) continued to be highest among the countries studied and was more than 1 1/2 times the U.S. level of $18.24.
In Japan, hourly compensation costs in manufacturing dropped by 7.4 percent in 1997, following a 12.2 percent decline the year before. This left the Japanese cost level ($19.37) just 6 percent above the U.S.
Among the newly industrialized economies (NIEs) of Asia—Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan—trade-weighted manufacturing compensation costs measured in U.S. dollars declined for the first time in the history of the series, which began in 1975. The decrease of 2.5 percent brought trade-weighted average costs in the Asian NIEs to 36 percent of the U.S. cost level.
These data are products of the BLS Foreign Labor Statistics program. For additional information, see news release USDL 98-376, International Comparisons of Hourly Compensation Costs for Production Workers in Manufacturing, 1997.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, International average of factory worker compensation falls relative to U.S. on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1998/oct/wk3/art04.htm (visited December 11, 2016).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
Workplace injuries and illnesses and employer costs for workers’ compensation
Workplace injury and illness data and the costs to employers for workers’ compensation in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations.
A look at the future of the U.S. labor force to 2060
Projected long-term trends in the growth, size, and composition of the labor force.
Union membership in the United States
Historical trends in union membership among employed wage and salary workers; union membership by a variety of demographic characteristics.
A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
Spending on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.
Self-employment in the United States
Trends in self-employment by various demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, including both the unincorporated and the incorporated self-employed, as well as data on paid employees who work for the self-employed.