September 28, 2000
Of 29 countries studied by BLS, Singapore had the greatest decline in 1999 in hourly compensation costs, measured in U.S. dollars, for production workers in manufacturing—7.6 percent.
Switzerland, with a decrease of 3.4 percent, had the next largest drop in hourly compensation. Hourly compensation for manufacturing production workers measured in U.S. dollars also fell in 11 additional countries, including Italy, Germany, and France.
The largest increase in hourly compensation costs in 1999 was in Korea, at 24.5 percent. Other countries with double-digit increases in dollar terms were Mexico (15.2 percent) and Japan (14.2 percent). The increase in Japan followed declines in the three previous years.
In the United States, hourly compensation costs in manufacturing were up 2.9 percent in 1999. Hourly compensation in the U.S. had risen by 2.1 percent in 1998 and 3.2 percent in 1997.
These data are a product of the BLS Foreign Labor Statistics program. For additional information, see news release USDL 00-254, International Comparisons of Hourly Compensation Costs for Production Workers in Manufacturing, 1999. Note that the statistics for foreign economies presented here reflect fluctuations in exchange rates as well as changes in hourly compensation expressed in each country’s national currency. Measured in national currency, all of the economies in the analysis except Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore had an increase in hourly compensation costs for manufacturing production workers in 1999. However, the dollar appreciated in 1999 against most of the foreign countries studied, resulting in some declines in hourly compensation costs measured in U.S. dollars.