Manufacturing unit labor costs lower in 2002 in U.S., Japan, Taiwan
September 16, 2003
As in 2001, Japan and Taiwan continued to show the largest unit labor cost declines in 2002 (in U.S. dollar terms). The United States was the only other economy among the 14 studied with a decline in unit labor costs last year.
In 2002, the U.S. dollar depreciated against the currencies of most countries in this comparison, particularly against the Norwegian krone. This depreciation reversed a seven-year trend when the U.S. dollar recorded annual average appreciation against most other currencies.
As a result of the dollar's fall, most countries showed large increases in unit labor costs expressed in U.S. dollars, in particular Norway, the Netherlands, Italy, and Korea. The annual increase in Korean unit labor costs expressed in U.S. dollars was the largest since the Asian financial crisis in 1997.
Only the Japanese yen and the Canadian and Taiwanese dollars depreciated against the U.S. dollar in 2002.
For most of the economies studied, increases in unit labor costs expressed in national currencies were below their average annual growth rates of the last 30 years in 2002, but the depreciation of the U.S. dollar last year raised dollar-denominated unit labor cost increases above their historical growth rates.
These data are from the Foreign Labor Statistics program. For more information, see news release, "International Comparisons of Manufacturing Productivity and Unit Labor Cost Trends, 2002" (PDF) (TXT), USDL 03-469. Unit labor costs are defined as the cost of labor input required to produce one unit of output. They are computed as labor compensation in nominal terms divided by real output.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Manufacturing unit labor costs lower in 2002 in U.S., Japan, Taiwan on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2003/sept/wk3/art02.htm (visited May 25, 2015).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
New estimates of personal taxes in Consumer Expenditure Survey
In 2013, the Consumer Expenditure Survey improved its personal tax data.
Trends in long-term unemployment
Long-term unemployment reached historically high levels following the recession of 2007–2009.
Housing: before, during, and after the Great Recession
looks at consumer expenditures on household items, employment in residential construction, prices for household items, and injuries in occupations involved in building and maintaining our homes.