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ILC Features and Special Studies

Monthly ILC reports discontinued; related data available via other programs

Monthly data series on consumer prices and employment have been discontinued as part of International Labor Comparisons (ILC) and have been transitioned to The Conference Board Business Cycle Indicators (BCI) program. Monthly international indicators on inflation, employment and unemployment in the BCI database are prepared using ILC methodologies. To download these indicators, see the US BCI series.

Charting International Labor Comparisons

Charting International Labor Comparisons, 2014

21 Mar. 2014

Compare national labor markets and international competitiveness through charts and accompanying insights. Charts highlight labor costs, labor productivity, and other comparable indicators for up to 38 countries, including emerging economies. Learn More

Labor Force, Employment, and Unemployment

Updated. Monthly Unemployment Rates and Employment Indexes, 2007-2015 (updated monthly)

18 Sept. 2015

In July, labor market conditions in European economies compared largely improved. Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden all experience lower unemployment rates, while German unemployment remained stable.  However the labor markets in France declined as unemployment rose (from 6.1 to 6.3 percent) while the employment index (January 2007 = 100) fell from 101.0 to 100.5. Outside of Europe, joblessness increased in the Australia and Canada, but remained steady in the U.S. and Japan. Italy’s drop in unemployment (from 12.7 to 12.1) is the largest monthly drop since January of 2004.

To download monthly international unemployment rates and employment indexes, visit The Conference Board Business Cycle Indicators (BCI) program. International comparisons of monthly indicators are part of the U.S. BCI series. See country notes and technical notes associated with these series.

International Comparisons of Annual Labor Force Statistics, 1970-2013

28 Aug. 2014

In the US, Canada, Germany, and Japan, rapidly falling unemployment rates reflect tightening labor markets. In contrast, high unemployment and increasing labor participation rates in Europe has resulted in an excess of available labor willing to fill jobs. Across most countries, growing numbers of women and older workers are joining the workforce, while youth are struggling to find jobs and increasingly dropping out of the labor force. Learn More

Hourly Compensation Costs (Wages and Benefits)

International Comparisons of Hourly Compensation Costs in the Manufacturing Sector, 1996-2013

17 Dec. 2014

Relative to 2012, Japan, Greece, Brazil, Australia, Singapore, Canada and Taiwan all saw decreases in US dollar-denominated hourly compensation costs, reflecting improved labor-cost competitiveness against the US in 2013. There is also a wide disparity of labor-cost trends within the Euro Area, as European labor markets recover differently. Further, the latest compensation trends suggest that India is better placed than China to maintain and extend its manufacturing competitiveness.

Compensation costs by sub-manufacturing industry and special estimates on manufacturing compensation in China and India are accessible in time series tables and interactive dashboards. Learn More

Productivity and Unit Labor Costs

International Comparisons of Manufacturing Productivity & Unit Labor Costs Trends, 2014

26 May 2015

The Conference Board International Labor Comparison (ILC) database reported a mild strengthening in manufacturing competitiveness in 2014 among most mature economies, primarily due to increased productivity. This improvement in labor cost per unit of manufacturing output, or unit labor cost (ULC), in part reflects the fact that average manufacturing productivity growth has held up at 1.3 percent in 2014 relative to 1.2 percent 2013. While hourly labor costs denominated in national currency continued to rise, most notably in the Euro Area, the appreciation of the US dollar against many currencies beginning in 2014 offset labor cost increases and made manufacturing production outside the United States less expensive in US dollar terms. Learn more.

Consumer Prices

Updated. Monthly International Indexes of Consumer Prices, (Updated Monthly)

18 Sept. 2015

In July, inflation based on the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) increased or remained steady in 13 of 16 economies compared, continuing recent price growth. Only France, Japan, Norway, and Switzerland experienced lower inflation. While the United Kingdom climbed out of a deflationary environment in July, deflation persisted in Switzerland and the United States. Although price growth in the U.S. remained negative, it accelerated for a third consecutive month (from -0.8 to -0.7 percent). Japan moved closer to the deflationary boundary, which experienced another decline in inflation (from 0.5 to 0.4). While inflation in Norway remains one of the highest of countries compared, annual inflation slowed (from 2.6 to 1.5 percent), the largest monthly drop since December of 2011.

To download monthly international price indexes and inflation rates visit The Conference Board Business Cycle Indicators (BCI) program. International comparisons of monthly indicators are part of the U.S. BCI series. See country notes and technical notes associated with these series.


Insight Minute Videos

How can businesses help productivity recover?
Why is Britain's productivity growth so slow?
Has Germany outperformed the rest of Europe on productivity?

View all Insight Minutes

International and Labor Market Webcasts

The Keys to Improving Productivity Performance

15 Sept. 2015 | KnowlEdge Series®

What are the key principles businesses can employ to boost productivity? What are the challenges and opportunities? Join us and learn the keys to remaining competitive in an environment of slowing productivity.

The Conference Board Economics Watch® - Emerging Markets View

13 Aug. 2015 | Economics Watch®

How will a diverse set of Asian Pacific countries be affected by lower oil prices and volatility in the medium-term? Join us for an interactive discussion in this month’s Economics Watch – Emerging Markets View. CPE credit available.

The Conference Board Economics Watch® - European View

12 Aug. 2015 | Economics Watch®

Join us for an interactive discussion on how recent developments in and outside Europe are impacting the economic outlook in the second half of 2015, in this month’s Economics Watch – European View.

View all Webcasts on Demand

Discontinued ILC Series

International Comparisons of GDP per capita & per hour worked, 2012

17 Dec. 2013

XLSTime Series tables, 1960-2012

PDF Technical Notes

 Ongoing Related Series: See The Conference Board Total Economy DatabaseTM (TED) for international comparisons of GDP, population, employment, hours worked, labor quality, capital services, labor productivity, and total factor productivity for 123 countries.

International Indexes of Consumer Prices, 2013

15 Apr. 2014

PDF Full Report

XLS Time Series tables, 1950-2013

PDF Technical Notes

PDF Country Notes

About the International Labor Comparisons Program

Formerly a division of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the International Labor Comparisons (ILC) program prepares economic indicators that are comparable across countries. Often statistics from different countries are not comparable and do not allow for meaningful comparative analysis. In contrast, ILC adjusts economic statistics to facilitate meaningful and accurate comparisons between countries by using a common conceptual framework. These data can be used to evaluate the economic performance of one country relative to others.

ILC was eliminated by the federal government in 2013 due to across-the-board spending cuts. ILC produces internationally comparative datasets using the same concepts and methodology as those previously used by BLS. For historical data see

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