January 12, 2000
Of 29 countries studied by BLS, Korea had the greatest decline in 1998 in hourly compensation costs, measured in U.S. dollars, for production workers in manufacturing—31.4 percent.
Other countries besides Korea with a 10 percent or greater decline in hourly compensation costs in 1998 included Taiwan (10.7 percent) and Australia (10.0 percent). Hourly compensation for manufacturing production workers measured in U.S. dollars also fell in 12 additional countries, including Japan, Canada, and Italy.
Hourly compensation costs in Japan decreased for the third consecutive year in 1998. In Canada, the drop in hourly compensation costs of 4.7 percent was the largest one-year decline in that country since BLS began the series in 1975.
In the United Kingdom, hourly compensation costs increased the most of all the countries studied by BLS—6.2 percent. Hourly compensation in manufacturing expressed in U.S. dollars also rose in Mexico (2.8 percent), the U.S. (1.9 percent), France (1.6 percent), and Germany (1.1 percent).
These data are a product of the BLS Foreign Labor Statistics program. For additional information, see news release USDL 00-07, International Comparisons of Hourly Compensation Costs for Production Workers in Manufacturing, 1998. 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, every country in the analysis except Italy had an increase in hourly compensation costs for manufacturing production workers in 1998. However, the dollar appreciated in 1998 against nearly all of the foreign countries studied, resulting in declines in hourly compensation costs measured in U.S. dollars in many countries.