March 29, 2004
In 2002, the 9.2-percent increase in U.S. manufacturing productivity, measured by output per hour, was the largest among 14 economies compared.
Except for Italy, productivity also increased in 2002 in all of the other economies, with gains of more than 6 percent in Sweden, Korea, Belgium, and Taiwan.
Labor productivity growth in U.S. factories in 2002 was substantially above its 3.5-percent average annual growth rate since 1979. Six of the other 11 economies for which historical comparisons are available also surpassed their 1979-2002 average annual rates of increase in 2002.
These data are from the BLS Foreign Labor Statistics program. Data are subject to revision. This article updates an item that appeared in The Editor’s Desk in 2003: "Sweden, Korea had largest factory productivity gains last year". Additional information is available in "International Comparisons of Manufacturing Productivity and Unit Labor Cost Trends, Revised Data for 2002" (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 04-488.