April 07, 2011
Even as China ascends as a major economic player in the global economy, its position in the international landscape of labor costs has not changed dramatically. As measured in U.S. dollars, Chinese hourly labor compensation costs in manufacturing were roughly 4 percent of those in the United States and about 3 percent of those in the Euro Area in 2008.
China's costs were roughly on par with those of some developing countries like the Philippines, but lagged noticeably behind those of other countries like Mexico and Brazil.
Average hourly compensation costs in China were $1.36 in 2008. China's hourly compensation costs remain far below those of many of its East Asian neighbors like Japan ($27.80) and Taiwan ($8.68), but are roughly on par with those of others like the Philippines ($1.68)
These data are from the International Labor Comparisons program. To learn more, see "China's employment and compensation costs in manufacturing through 2008" (PDF) in the March 2011 edition of the Monthly Labor Review. China's published statistics on employment and wages in manufacturing do not meet international standards. Direct comparisons should be made with caution.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Manufacturing compensation costs in China, 2008 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2011/ted_20110407.htm (visited January 19, 2022).