February 27, 2007
Among 16 countries under comparison, all had manufacturing productivity gains in 2005. Korea and Taiwan had the largest productivity increases.
The U.S. increase of 3.3 percent placed it eighth among the 16 economies compared. The U.S. increase was less than its average annual growth rate since 1979. Nevertheless, since 1995, only Korea and Sweden have had greater productivity growth than the United States.
Korea and Taiwan continued to be among the leaders in the growth of manufacturing output, as they have been for the last decade. Sweden, also a leader in manufacturing growth over the decade, had more modest output growth in 2005. U.S. manufacturing output growth, like that of most of the economies, also slowed in 2005.
While 12 of the economies had increases in output, all 16 economies had reductions in hours. The Netherlands had the greatest decline (-3.8 percent) in hours in 2005, followed closely by the United Kingdom (-3.6 percent) and Belgium (-3.2 percent).
Data for Spain are included in this news release for the first time. Manufacturing productivity increased in Spain by 0.8 percent in 2005.
These data are from the Foreign Labor Statistics program. Data are subject to revision. This article updates one that appeared in The Editor’s Desk in 2006: "International factory productivity gains in 2005". Additional information is available in "International Comparisons of Manufacturing Productivity and Unit Labor Cost Trends, 2005, Revised" (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 07-0283.