November 23, 2005
In the United States, hourly compensation costs for production workers in manufacturing increased 4.0 percent in 2004, to $23.17.
Although average costs in the United States were higher than those in all the economies covered outside of Europe, 12 of the 19 European countries covered had higher hourly compensation costs than the United States, in a few cases more than 40 percent higher.
Trade-weighted average costs increased 3.0 percent in the combined 31 foreign economies in 2004, when measured in national currency terms. This was less than the increase in the United States, but the value of foreign currencies rose 5.8 percent against the U.S. dollar, resulting in a rise in hourly compensation costs in the foreign economies of 8.9 percent on a U.S. dollar basis.
These data are from the Foreign Labor Statistics program. The Asian newly industrializing economies are Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan. For more information, see International Comparisons of Hourly Compensation Costs for Production Workers in Manufacturing, 2004 (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 05-2197. Hourly compensation costs include (1) hourly direct pay and (2) employer social insurance expenditures and other labor taxes.