The Foreign Labor Statistics (FLS) program provides international comparisons of hourly compensation costs; productivity and unit labor costs; labor force, employment and unemployment rates; and consumer prices. The comparisons relate primarily to the major industrial countries, but other countries are included in certain measures. Because statistical concepts and methods vary from country to country, international comparisons of statistical data can be misleading. The Bureau of Labor Statistics attempts to derive meaningful comparisons by selecting a conceptual framework for comparative purposes; analyzing foreign statistical series and selecting those which most nearly match the desired concepts; and adjusting statistical series, where necessary and feasible, for greater inter-country comparability.

FLS News Releases

News Releases

  • NEWS RELEASE International Comparisons of Hourly Compensation Costs in Manufacturing (HTML) (PDF 399K)
  • NEWS RELEASE International Comparisons of Manufacturing Productivity and Unit Labor Cost Trends 2006, Revised (HTML) (PDF 102K)

FLS Databases


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Foreign Labor Statistics
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  • Series Report—Already know the series identifier for the statistic you want? Use this shortcut to retrieve your data.
  • Text files (FTP) - For those who want it all. Download a flat file of the entire database or large subset of the database.

FLS Tables

Labor Force, Employment, and Unemployment—International Comparisons

Hourly Compensation—International Comparisons

Productivity and Unit Labor Costs—International Comparisons

GDP per Capita and per Employed Person—International Comparisons

  • Comparative Real Gross Domestic Product per Capita and per Employed Person, 16 Countries, 1960-2007 (TXT) (PDF 94K)

Consumer Price Indexes—International Comparisons

  • Consumer Price Indexes, 16 Countries, Annual, 1950-2007 (TXT) (PDF 29K)
  • Consumer Price Indexes, Percent Changes, Nine Countries, 1995-2008 (TXT) (PDF)
  • Harmonized Indexes of Consumer Prices, Eight Countries or Areas, Annual, 1996-2007 (TXT) (PDF 19K)
  • Harmonized Indexes of Consumer Prices, Percent Changes, Eight Countries or Areas, 2003-2008 (TXT) (PDF)

FLS Publications


  • NEW "Technical Information about Measures from the Foreign Labor Statistics Program," (PDF 96K) This document describes the comparative statistical measures that BLS publishes, as well as the methodology used to calculate these measures. June 2008.
  • "Comparative civilian labor force statistics, 10 countries: a visual essay," (PDF 88K) by Jennifer Raynor, Monthly Labor Review, December 2007, pp. 32-37.
  • "International comparisons of Harmonized Indexes of Consumer Prices," (PDF 197K) by Jessica Sincavage, Monthly Labor Review, February 2007, pp. 23-26.
  • Labor Costs of Manufacturing Employees in China: An Update to 2003-04, (PDF 65K) by Erin Lett and Judith Banister, Monthly Labor Review, November 2006, pp. 40-45.
  • Manufacturing Employment and Compensation in China. (PDF 625K) (Revised November 2005) This revised report, prepared by Judith Banister under contract to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was commissioned by BLS in order to assess the quality and usability of the official data that are available from China on manufacturing employment and compensation. Because of concerns about the quality of the available data, BLS does not plan to include China in its comparative foreign labor statistics program at this time; however, further research is underway. Please note: The opinions, analysis, and conclusions expressed in the report are solely those of the author.
  • A Chartbook of International Labor Comparisons: The Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe (January 2008).
  • "A Visual Essay: International Labor Market Comparisons," (PDF 65K) by Marie-Claire Guillard, Monthly Labor Review, April 2006, pp. 33-40.
  • "Families and Work in Transition in 12 Countries, 1980-2001," (PDF 331K) by Gary Martin and Vladimir Kats, Monthly Labor Review, September 2003, pp. 3-31.
  • "Providing Comparable International Labor Statistics," (PDF 223K) by Patricia Capdevielle and Mark K. Sherwood, Monthly Labor Review, June 2002, pp. 3-14.
  • "U.S. Labor Market Performance in International Perspective," (PDF 148K) by Constance Sorrentino and Joyanna Moy, Monthly Labor Review, June 2002, pp. 15-35.
  • "A Perspective on U.S. and Foreign Compensation Costs in Manufacturing," (PDF 129K) by Chris Sparks, Theo Bikoi, and Lisa Moglia, Monthly Labor Review, June 2002, pp. 36-50.
  • "Comparing 50 Years of Labor Productivity in U.S. and Foreign Manufacturing," (PDF 130K) by Aaron E. Cobet and Gregory A. Wilson, Monthly Labor Review, June 2002, pp. 51-65.
  • more Monthly Labor Review Articles

FLS Frequently Asked Questions

Contact FLS


General Information:   (202) 691-5654
  E-mail:   Contact us
Labor Force and Unemployment:
Analysis and methodology:
  Connie Sorrentino   (202) 691-5033
  Rich Esposito   (202) 691-6071
Hourly Compensation Costs:
Analysis and methodology:
  Chris Sparks   (202) 691-5034
  Elizabeth Zamora   (202) 691-5029
Productivity and Unit Labor Costs:
Analysis and methodology:
  Wolodar Lysko   (202) 691-5026
  Aaron Cobet   (202) 691-5018
Gross Domestic Product Per Capita and Per Employed Person:
  Wolodar Lysko   (202) 691-5026
Consumer Prices:
  Mubarka Haq   (202) 691-5772
Written inquiries should be directed to:
  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Division of Foreign Labor Statistics
Suite 2150
2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, D.C. 20212-0001


Related Links

Other BLS Programs

  • Import/Export Price Indexes—monthly data on changes in the prices of imported and exported nonmilitary goods traded between the U.S. and the rest of the world.
  • International Technical Cooperation—conducts training in labor statistics for international participants and coordinates international requests for BLS services including technical experts and short-term visits to BLS.

Other Sources of International Statistics: