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International Labor Comparisons

Discontinuation of Hourly Compensation Costs Series for Workers in Mexican Maquiladora Manufacturing Export Industries


Since the 1980s, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has published hourly compensation costs data for workers in Mexican maquiladora manufacturing export industries. A "maquiladora" refers to a foreign-owned Mexican firm that operates under a special customs program. This program allows the maquiladora to temporarily import into Mexico on a duty free (in-bond) basis capital and intermediary goods needed for the assembly or manufacture of goods or services for export. The BLS series on maquiladora compensation costs has served as one measure of Mexico’s international competitiveness in manufactured goods.

Discontinuation of Maquiladora Statistics

The BLS currently publishes Hourly Compensation Costs for Workers in Maquiladora Manufacturing Export Industries for the years 1975 to 2006. These estimates are derived from Monthly Maquiladora Export Industry Statistics (EMIME) published by Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics, Geography, and Informatics (INEGI). For reasons summarized below, Mexico will no longer distinguish maquiladora firms as separate entities. As a result, statistics on the maquiladora sector are no longer published by INEGI; INEGI discontinued the EMIME series in March 2007.

In November 2006, Mexico merged the maquiladora program with a counterpart program for domestically-owned exporting firms known as the Program for Temporary Imports to Promote Exports (PITEX). Maquiladora and PITEX firms are now part of a single export-oriented program—Maquiladora Manufacturing Industry and Export Services (IMMEX). The export activities of foreign- and domestically-owned firms in Mexico are now treated similarly and are no longer distinguished from one another. Although not reported separately, INEGI will continue to incorporate export-oriented firms (including maquiladoras) into the Economic Census and Monthly Industrial Survey. In the future, Mexico will publish statistics on IMMEX firms as a group.

Due to the termination of the Mexican maquiladora program, BLS will discontinue the series Hourly Compensation Costs for Workers in Maquiladora Manufacturing Export Industries. The series was updated to 2006 in May 2008 and reflects the latest available data for the sector. BLS data for Mexico in the series International Comparisons of Hourly Compensation Costs for All Employees and Production Workers in Manufacturing Industries (NAICS) are representative of all manufacturing activities in the country, regardless of export status.

Other Sources of Information

Disclaimer: Links to non-BLS Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

For more information on the change in the treatment of maquiladoras, see INEGI, Mexico’s Ministry of the Economy, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

  • "Mexico Regulatory Change Redefines Maquiladora," (PDF 120K) by Jesus CaÑas and Robert W. Gilmer, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas: Crossroads, Issue 1, 2007, pp. 6-8.
  • "Maquiladora Data: Mexican Reform Clouds View of Key Industry," (PDF 132K) by Jesus CaÑas and Robert W. Gilmer, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas: Spotlight, May/June 2007, p. 10.


Last Modified Date: April 9, 2009