December 27, 2011
In 2010, manufacturing hourly compensation costs in the United States were lower than in several northern and western European countries, Australia, and Canada, but higher than in the United Kingdom and 19 countries in southern and eastern Europe, Asia, and South America.
From 2009 to 2010, U.S. hourly compensation costs rose about 2 percent to $34.74.
The total benefits portion of compensation costs can be seen by combining social insurance with directly-paid benefits, also described as the benefit components of manufacturing employers’ compensation costs as a percent of total costs.
In countries with the highest ratio of social insurance costs, such as Sweden, Belgium, and Brazil, social insurance makes up approximately one-third of total compensation costs. In the United States, social insurance costs account for about 24 percent of total compensation, while in the Asian countries social insurance is less than 20 percent.
Directly-paid benefits comprise pay for leave time, bonuses, and pay in kind. The percentage of compensation that is directly-paid benefits tends to be higher in many European countries (due in large part to leave pay) and in Japan (where seasonal bonuses are a large portion of costs). Directly-paid benefits are a relatively smaller portion of costs in countries such as the United States, Australia, and Canada.
These data are from the International Labor Comparisons program. To learn more, see "International Comparisons of Hourly Compensation Costs in Manufacturing, 2010," (HTML) (PDF) news release USDL-11-1778.