September 11, 2002
Over the course of the last half of the 20th century, labor productivity in the manufacturing sector increased less in the U.S. than in the other G-7 countries—Canada, Japan, and G-4 Europe (France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom).
However, the slower overall growth in U.S. productivity is largely attributable to the pre-1973 period. After 1973, growth in U.S. productivity continued and even accelerated, whereas productivity growth slowed in most other countries.
The U.S. productivity growth rate was relatively stable over the different time periods and reached its maximum in the 1990s. The remaining G-7 countries, however, experienced their highest rates of productivity increases during the pre-1973 period, followed by considerably lower rates of growth in subsequent years. The one exception was the United Kingdom, where productivity growth remained relatively stable over the entire 50-year period.
These data are a product of the BLS Foreign Labor Statistics program. Find out more in "Comparing 50 years of labor productivity in U.S. and foreign manufacturing," by Aaron E. Cobet and Gregory A. Wilson, Monthly Labor Review, June 2002.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Factory productivity in the G-7 countries: 1950-2000 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2002/sept/wk2/art03.htm (visited April 28, 2015).