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December 1991

Manufacturing productivity and labor costs in 14 economies

Arthur Neef, Christopher Kask

Over the 1960-90 period, the U.S. and Canada had smaller average annual increases in labor productivity than did Japan or the nine European countries studied, but long-term trends in unit labor costs have been favorable for U.S. trade competitiveness. This article examines comparative trends in manufacturing output per hour, unit labor costs, and related measures for the United States and 11 other industrial nations in 1990, and, subsequently, over the 1960-90 period, with discussions of selected subperiods.

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