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Foreign manufacturers' compensation costs rise

WASHINGTON — The trade-weighted average of hourly compensation costs in U.S. dollars for all employees in manufacturing among 32 foreign economies was 85 percent of the U.S. level in 2008, increasing from 82 percent in 2007, according to data issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Compensation costs relative to the United States rose or remained unchanged in 28 of the 32 foreign economies covered in 2008.

In the United States, hourly compensation costs for all employees in manufacturing rose 2.4 percent from the 2007 level to $32.26 in 2008. When measured in national currency terms, trade-weighted average costs increased 3.5 percent in the combined 32 foreign economies in 2008.

The value of foreign currencies rose 3.1 percent against the U.S. dollar resulting in a rise in hourly compensation costs in the foreign economies of 7.2 percent on a U.S. dollar basis.

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