U.S. Ranks #11 in Labor Productivity Increase for 2006

Sept. 28, 2007
Korea and Taiwan had largest increases

In the 16 economies that the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics compared, the U.S. ranked eleventh with an increase of productivity of 2.4%. The Republic of Korea and Taiwan had the largest productivity increases (+10.8% and +6.9%, respectively). Germany, and Sweden labor productivity grew by over 6%. Manufacturing productivity increased by only 0.3% in Australia and by 1.4% in Italy. Canada is the only economy that had no manufacturing productivity growth in 2006.

Manufacturing unit labor costs, expressed in national currency units,declined in nine of the economies and increased in seven. The change for the U.S. was near the middle of the range, at +0.1%

Manufacturing output increased in 14 of the 16 economies in 2006. Korea, Sweden, and Taiwan continued to be the leaders in the growth of output, as they have been for the last decade. In 2006, growth in manufacturing output in Germany, Norway and Denmark was also noticeably higher than their average annual rates of increase over the 1979-2006 period. The U.S. increase of 3.3% was also above its average annual increase since 1979 of 2.9%.

While 14 of the economies had increases in output in 2006, 9 economies had reductions in total hours worked in manufacturing.The United Kingdom had the greatest decline (-3.1%) in hours in 2006, followed by Korea (-2.1%) and France (-2.0%).Total hours worked increased in the U.S. by 0.9%, and by over 2% in Japan and Italy.

Manufacturing employment declined in 10 of the 16 economies in 2006.The United Kingdom experienced the steepest decline (-2.6%), followed by France (-2.0%). The decline was 0.5% in the United States.

Total labor compensation in manufacturing increased in all 16 economies in 2006, from 0.5% in France to 5.7% in Norway. For most, the increases were between 2% and 4%. Total labor compensation in U.S. manufacturing increased by 3.4% in 2006, and increased at a 3.6% average annual rate over the 1979-2006 period.

Hourly compensation in manufacturing also increased in all 16economies in 2006. The greatest increases were in the United Kingdom (7%), Korea (6.8%), and Australia (6.5%). Japan had the lowest rate of increase in 2006 (0.5%). The U.S. increase of 2.5% in hourly compensation was below its average annual increase since 1979.

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