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Relative Cost of Shipbuilding Labor

Most recent update: March 24, 2008.


(Average Hourly Labor Costs in Current USD, including Fringe Benefits)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Please note that these are the latest figures available from the BLS.  Their currently available data for shipbuilding are only through 2002 and their latest figure for Korea is for 1993.  The BLS data also provide figures for several other countries but I have not included any countries that are no longer major shipbuilding nations.  The figures in italics are extrapolations, based on the BLS' parallel report of average wages in all transportation equipment manufacturing, (i.e., cars, trucks, planes, etc., as well as ships): this is not very scientific but it's better than nothing.  There are no data for wages in Chinese shipyards: I have pursued several possible sources and found nothing.  As far as I can tell, Chinese shipyard workers get less than $1 an hour in cash wages, but are 100% supported by the state: how one might convert this into a figure that could be compared to those below is beyond me.

Year U.S.A. Finland France Germany Italy Japan Korea
1975 6.84 5.43 5.17 7.10 5.87 3.93 0.60
1976 7.59 6.10 5.65 7.51 5.46 4.30 0.76
1977 8.08 6.40 6.52 8.88 6.07 5.11 1.40
1978 9.03 6.57 7.89 11.16 7.22 6.70 1.83
1979 10.06 8.17 9.35 12.83 7.87 6.46 1.87
1980 11.27 8.75 10.74 14.25 9.19 6.77 1.82
1981 12.80 8.38 9.43 12.80 8.48 6.85 2.06
1982 13.48 8.79 8.95 11.60 8.32 6.96 2.18
1983 13.86 8.42 8.97 11.65 8.03 7.70 2.30
1984 14.27 8.79 8.86 10.68 7.76 7.80 2.22
1985 14.62 9.14 8.86 10.93 8.13 8.12 2.33
1986 14.72 12.89 11.50 14.96 11.04 11.37 2.23
1987 14.36 15.67 13.52 18.80 13.73 12.57 2.63
1988 14.52 17.73 14.09 20.08 14.65 14.83 3.87
1989 14.82 18.97 13.49 19.53 14.90 14.62 5.17
1990 15.56 22.48 16.36 24.13 17.89 14.96 6.24
1991 16.66 23.10 16.23 25.19 18.81 17.75 7.44
1992 17.58 21.12 18.14 28.50 19.42 20.38 8.03
1993 18.26 17.96 17.12 29.22 15.80 23.28 8.39
1994 18.09 20.28 18.04 29.94 15.83 25.72 10.28
1995 18.75 26.55 20.30 35.20 16.37 28.76 11.95
1996 18.39 25.49 19.86 32.82 17.88 24.90 13.90
1997 19.13 22.91 17.80 29.05 16.96 23.27 11.82
1998 19.24 22.24 18.13 27.46 16.52 20.95 9.16
1999 19.65 21.52 18.02 27.09 16.04 24.05 11.64
2000 20.13 18.60 16.91 24.66 14.21 24.09 12.94
2001 21.04 18.61 17.23 24.28 14.02 21.31 11.48
2002 21.74 21.00 18.92 25.60 15.29 21.58 15.21
2003 22.72 27.69 23.46 31.41 18.69 23.37 16.58
2004 23.18 30.86 26.58 34.94 21.19 24.96 19.18