March 17, 1999
Labor productivity in U.S. manufacturing rose 4.2 percent during 1997, ranking near the middle of 11 countries for which comparable data are available. Manufacturing labor productivity grew in all 11 of those countries, topped by France at 6.8 percent. Labor productivity measures output per hour, accounting for changes in both output and hours worked.
Manufacturing output increased in all 11 countries, ranging from a 1.0-percent increase in the United Kingdom to 6.7-percent growth in Taiwan. U.S. manufacturing rose for the sixth consecutive year; its 5.9-percent growth rate was above the average for all countries.
In 1997, hours worked increased in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom. Hours worked decreased in the remaining countries, so that their overall labor productivity growth rates were larger than their growth rates in output. Labor productivity grows faster when more output is produced in fewer hours.
These data are a product of the BLS Foreign Labor Statistics program. Additional information is available in news release USDL 99-63, "International Comparisons of Manufacturing Productivity and Unit Labor Cost Trends, 1997 Revised Data".