I try to find global economic data on manufacturing and manufacturing jobs, but it isn’t easy. This is one of the areas I will be working on with the time I have freed up by moving to Malaysia (and taking a “sabbatical” [it isn't really a sabbatical, I guess, just me studying and working on what I want to instead of what someone pays me to]).
I found some interesting data from the USA census bureau on manufacturing employment in several countries (it would be interesting to see the data for more countries but for now I am limited to this data). Sadly they just use indexed data (I would rather see raw data). This data for example lets you see the changes in countries but I don’t see any way to compare the absolute values between countries – all you can compare is the changes between countries.
The data is all indexed at 2002 = 100. Interestingly the USA has increased output per hour much more than any other country since 2002. The USA index stands at 146, the next highest is Sweden at 127 then the UK at 120. Italy is the only country tracked that fell since 2002, to 94. Japan (the 3rd largest manufacturer and 2nd largest of the countries include, China isn’t included) only increased to 113. Germany (4th and 3rd) increased to 111.
The data also lets you look back from 1990 to 2002 and again the USA has increased productivity very well (2nd most) – the value in 1990 was 58. Sweden actually had the largest gain from 1990-2002, rising from 49. In 1990 Japan stood at 71 and Germany 70.
Compensation in the countries currency is remarkably consistent across all countries from 1990-2009. Japan shows the only significant divergence in the period of 2002 – 2009 actually decreasing pay in real terms (a small amount – from 100 to 98) while the average increases to about 110. So those with jobs are seeing increases in pay above inflation (except in Japan).
Total manufacturing employment is on a steady decline everywhere, which is consistent with all the other data we have seen over the years, everywhere. Norway has barely decreased (and Canada actually grew from 1990-2002) but overall there have been significant declines across the board. The UK lost the most employment the 2002 – 2009 drop (ending at 75.4); with the USA in 2nd – dropping to 58.4; and Canada coming in 3rd dropping to 81. Italy did fairly well on the employment front from 111 in 1990 to 95 in 2009. Aggregate hours also saw large declines across the board.
Related: Manufacturing Jobs Data: USA and China 1990 to 2004 – USA Manufacturing Output Continues to Increase (over the long term) – Manufacturing Output as a Percent of GDP by Country – Manufacturing Jobs