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1 International Comparisons of GDP per Capita and per Hour, Division of International Labor Comparisons October 21, 2010 Table of Contents Introduction.2 Charts...3 Tables...9 Technical Notes.. 18 What s New Country estimates for: Czech Republic,, and Ireland Indicators: Real GDP, Population, Employment, and Average annual hours worked GDP per capita, when converted to U.S. dollars using purchasing power parities, is the most widely used income measure for international comparisons of living standards. In 9, Norway had the highest GDP per capita followed by Singapore then the United States. GDP per capita was lowest in the Czech Republic and the Republic of Korea. For more details, see page 3. Norway Singapore United States Ireland Netherlands Australia Austria Canada Sweden Denmark United Kingdom Germany France Spain Japan Italy Rep. of Korea Czech Republic GDP per capita, Thousands of U.S. dollars Contact Us Division of International Labor Comparisons (ILC) Inquiries and Feedback or (202) Web site Subscribe to the ILC e-newsletter JustOut! with subscribe in the subject line. JustOut! provides links to the latest ILC releases, which usually occur once or twice per month. GDP per hour worked is a general measure of labor productivity for the entire economy. In 9, Norway and Ireland had the highest GDP per hour worked followed by the United States. GDP per hour worked was lowest in the Republic of Korea and the Czech Republic. While Singapore had one of the highest levels of GDP per capita, it had one of the lowest levels of GDP per hour worked. For more details, see page 5. Norway Ireland United States Netherlands France Germany Sweden Austria United Kingdom Spain Denmark Australia Canada Italy Japan Singapore Czech Republic Rep. of Korea GDP per hour worked, U.S. dollars

2 Introduction This report updates the international comparisons report on GDP per capita and related measures produced annually by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Previous versions of the report were titled International comparisons of GDP per capita and per employed person. Charts on current levels and recent trends of GDP and gross national income (GNI) per capita, GDP per hour worked, average annual hours worked, and employment are followed by tables with time series and growth rates of these and related indicators. The estimates shown in this report are based on data available as of August With this year s edition, the Czech Republic, and have been added to the comparisons, and data for Ireland are now available for all indicators. In addition, tables on real GDP, population, employment, and average annual hours worked are now included in the report. Data are available for all countries through 9. Concepts and Definitions Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is defined as the value of all market and some nonmarket goods and services produced within a country s geographic borders. As such, it is the most comprehensive measure of a country's economic output that is estimated by statistical agencies. GDP per capita may therefore be viewed as a rough indicator of a nation's economic well being, while GDP per hour worked can provide a general picture of a country's productivity. These indicators, however, are only approximations. The total production of a country consists of many things that are not included in its GDP, for example leisure, health, safety, and cultural resources. In addition, net income flows from abroad are not included in GDP; Gross National Income (GNI), however, is a measure of a country s production that includes both GDP and net income flows. Due to these types of data limitations, small differences in rankings should not be considered economically significant. Nevertheless, these measures are commonly used to compare the economic performance of different countries. For international comparisons of levels of GDP, GDP per capita, or GDP per hour worked, the output has to be measured in a common currency unit. BLS converted the output measures from national currency units to U.S. dollars through the use of purchasing power parities (PPPs). PPPs are currency conversion rates that allow output in different currency units to be expressed in a common unit of value in this case, U.S. dollars. The PPP for a given country is a ratio, where the numerator is the number of national currency units needed to purchase a specific basket of goods and services in that country and the denominator is the number of U.S. dollars needed to purchase a similar basket of goods in the United States, the base country. This report now uses 9 PPPs instead of 5 PPPs. In addition, since the previous update, the organizations that publish the PPPs have revised their earlier data. As a result, GDP for some countries may have changed. For example, in the current update, the PPP for Singapore underwent a significant revision, which raised the value of Singapore s output expressed in U.S. dollars. For further information on sources and methods, see the technical notes beginning on page 18. Additional historical data on GDP per capita, GDP per hour worked, and related measures are available on the Internet, at 2 Introduction

3 GDP per capita and GNI per capita are basic indicators of a country s economic well-being. GDP measures the value of all final goods and services produced within a country. GNI comprises GDP plus net income flow from abroad (the sum of all income received abroad by a country minus the income paid by that country to foreign entities). In 9, GDP per capita and GNI per capita were similar in most of the countries, with the exception of Ireland. The difference in this country resulted from negative net income flows from abroad. Small differences in ranking should not be considered economically significant. For information on data limitations, see Technical notes. In 9, real GDP per capita fell in all 20 countries compared. The steepest decline occured in followed by Ireland. This contrasts with the average annual changes over the period, when real GDP per capita increased in all 20 countries compared, with the largest increases occurring in the Republic of Korea and Ireland. The charts on page 4 show that as early as 7, countries began experiencing declines in real GDP per capita. Of the countries covered, Ireland experienced the fastest growth in real GDP per capita from 1995 to 7, though proceeded to suffer the sharpest decline. Norway Singapore United States Ireland Netherlands Australia Austria Canada Sweden Denmark United Kingdom Germany France Spain Japan Italy Rep. of Korea Czech Republic Rep. of Korea Ireland Czech Republic Singapore Australia Sweden Spain Netherlands Norway United Kingdom Austria Canada United States France Germany Denmark Japan Italy GDP per capita and GNI per capita, 9 Converted to U.S. dollars using 9 PPPs GDP per capita GNI per capita Thousands of U.S. dollars Real GDP per capita Average annual growth rates Percent 3 Charts

4 Real GDP per capita, by country, Converted to U.S. dollars using 9 PPPs Index: 1995 = Rep. of Korea Ireland Czech Republic Singapore Australia Sweden Spain Netherlands Norway United Kingdom Austria Canada United States France Germany Denmark Japan Italy Charts

5 GDP per hour worked may be viewed as a rough indicator of a country s productivity. In 9, Norway had the highest level of GDP per hour among the countries covered; approximately 20 percent higher than the next highest ranked country, Ireland, and roughly three times the level of the Republic of Korea. While Singapore had one of the highest levels of GDP per capita, it had one of the lowest levels of GDP per hour worked. The difference is related to Singapore having the highest average annual hours worked per employed person (see Table 7a on page 15) and the highest employment to population ratio (see Table 8) of all countries covered. The five countries with the lowest GDP per hour are also the five countries with the highest number of annual average hours worked per employed person. For more details, see page 8. Norway Ireland United States Netherlands France Germany Sweden Austria United Kingdom Spain Denmark Australia Canada Italy Japan Singapore Czech Republic Rep. of Korea GDP per hour worked, 9 Converted to U.S. dollars using 9 PPPs U.S. dollars When real GDP increases faster than hours worked, real GDP per hour worked rises. Conversely when hours worked rise faster than real GDP, real GDP per hour worked declines. Over the period, all countries compared experienced increases in real GDP per hour worked. In contrast, most countries in 9 experienced a decline in real GDP per hour worked, with the largest declines in Singapore and, respectively. Only four countries (Ireland, Australia, Spain, and the United States) had faster GDP per hour worked growth in 9 than over the time period. Rep. of Korea Ireland Czech Republic United States Australia Sweden Japan United Kingdom Singapore Norway Netherlands France Germany Austria Canada Spain Denmark Italy Real GDP per hour worked Average annual growth rates Percent 5 Charts

6 Real GDP per hour worked, by country, Converted to U.S. dollars using 9 PPPs Index: 1995 = Rep. of Korea Ireland Czech Republic United States Australia Sweden United Kingdom Japan Singapore Norway Netherlands France Germany Austria Canada Spain Denmark Italy Charts

7 Average annual hours worked is total number of hours worked in an economy divided by the number of persons employed. Of the countries covered, average annual hours worked were highest in Singapore and the Republic of Korea, well over 0 hours. In general, European countries had a lower number of average annual hours worked than the non-european countries. Average annual hours were lowest in the Netherlands and Germany. The European country with the highest level of average annual hours worked was the Czech Republic. With the exception of Denmark, average annual hours declined in all countries covered since The rate of decline in average annual hours accelerated in 9, with hours declining by more than 1 percent in more than half the countries. Only one country, Spain, saw average annual hours increase in 9. Singapore Rep. of Korea Czech Republic Italy Japan United States Canada Australia Austria United Kingdom Sweden Spain Denmark France Ireland Norway Germany Netherlands Average annual hours worked, Hours Average annual hours worked Average annual growth rates Denmark Spain Austria Sweden Singapore Italy United Kingdom Canada Australia Norway France United States Czech Republic Japan Netherlands Germany Rep. of Korea Ireland Percent 7 Charts

8 Employment and average hours worked combine to yield total hours worked, which is typically used as the labor input in productivity measures. In general, both employment and average hours worked declined in most countries from 8 to 9. The main exception was Singapore, where the employment level increased by more than 4 percent. Relatively small increases in employment and hours worked were observed in Australia and Spain, respectively. The composition of the decline in total hours worked varied across countries in 9. In some countries, such as Ireland, Spain, and Denmark, the decline in total hours was mainly due to declines in employment. In other countries, notably Australia, the Netherlands, and Germany, employment did not fall, but average hours worked did. The period saw growth in employment coupled with small declines in average annual hours worked for most of the countries covered. The only exceptions to this trend occurred in Denmark, where both employment and average annual hours increased slightly, and in Japan, where both declined. Employment and average hours worked, 8 09 Annual growth rates Singapore Australia Netherlands Germany Rep. of Korea Norway Austria Czech Republic France United Kingdom Canada Japan Italy Sweden Denmark United States Spain Ireland Singapore Ireland Spain Australia Canada Netherlands Norway Rep. of Korea Italy Austria France United Kingdom United States Denmark Sweden Germany Czech Republic Japan Employment Hours worked Percent Employment and hours worked, Average annual growth rates Employment Hours worked Percent 8 Charts

9 Real GDP per capita, by country, Table 1a. Converted to U.S. dollars using 9 PPPs (9 U.S. dollars) Country United States 17,167 28,511 35, 37,391 43,571 46,766 47,570 45,918 Canada 14,281 25,228 29,718 30,593 35,766 38,537 39,385 37,946 Australia 15,132 22,747 27,345 29,609 34,270 37,840 39,497 39,178 Japan 5,879 18,814 28,560 30,141 31,270 33,123 34,198 32,445 Republic of Korea 1,491 5,352 11,627 16,159 19,961 24,2 27,194 27,169 Singapore 4, 14,854 26,943 35,107 40,746 48,606 51,421 49,252 Austria 11,215 23,261 28,834 30,851 35,458 37,374 40,314 38,701 11,212 22,230 27,957 29,719 33,832 35,3 37,504 36,161 Czech Republic NA NA NA 17,794 19,262 23,231 26,476 25,235 Denmark 13,449 23,8 29,003 31,996 36,086 37,841 38,913 36,813 NA 19,173 26,095 24,693 30,813 34,607 37,924 34,717 France 10,845 22,779 27,681 28,700 32,252 33,786 34,779 33,679 Germany 12,982 23,740 29,397 31,568 34,643 35,566 38,229 36,452 Ireland NA 15,357 20, 24,501 36,771 43,901 44,622 41,110 Italy 10,048 21,910 28,544 30,338 33,276 33,789 33,820 31,887 Netherlands 13,830 24,826 29,449 31,890 37,756 39,338 42,726 40,839 Norway 14,583 29,153 37,504 43,819 50,962 55,240 57,300 55,653 Spain NA 18,283 23,763 25,258 30,215 32,918 34,044 32,565 Sweden 13,872 23,520 28,3 28,919 34,198 38,358 40,310 37,919 United Kingdom 14,031 21,390 26,908 28,793 33,595 37,152 38,669 36,528 Table 1b. Average annual rates of change Country United States Canada Australia Japan Republic of Korea Singapore Austria Czech Republic NA NA NA Denmark France Germany NA 2.0 NA Ireland Italy Netherlands Norway Spain Sweden United Kingdom Note: Data for Germany for years before 1991 pertain to the former West Germany. NA = Not available. PPPs = purchasing power parities. 9 Tables

10 Real GDP per employed person, by country, Table 2a. Converted to U.S. dollars using 9 PPPs (9 U.S. dollars) Country United States 45,438 63,599 72,4 78,786 88,961 96,626 98,671 99,763 Canada 40,949 56,756 62,435 66,977 73,938 76,554 76,349 75,676 Australia 37,411 53,424 58,736 64,367 72,613 76,0 78,401 79,188 Japan 11,669 37,431 54,884 56,576 60,792 66,214 68,017 65,507 Republic of Korea NA 14,769 27,561 35,695 44,353 51,138 56,063 56,342 Singapore NA 30,891 51,402 69,958 77,530 91,613 87,572 82,678 Austria 22,976 50,539 61,905 67,753 74,987 78,432 81,623 79,381 29,361 57,924 72,472 77,906 84,403 88,109 89,894 87,515 Czech Republic NA NA NA 35,706 40,052 47,629 52,216 50,658 Denmark 28,885 48,003 57,145 65,557 71,021 75,192 73,652 72,551 NA 39,927 52,458 61,445 69,545 75,988 79,795 75,529 France 25,315 56,398 70,431 75,144,491 84,693 86,185 84,978 Germany 27,581 54,014 61,149 68,558 72,737 75,522 77,940 74, Ireland NA 43,845 60,155 68,0 82,502 93,069 94,260 95,348 Italy 24,106 58,569 71,606 78,958 82,635 81,173,107 77,363 Netherlands 37,583 70,714 69,252 71,586 76,383 79,138 81,776 78,542 Norway 34,145 62,397 77,264 90,112 98, , , ,156 Spain NA 49,414 61,467 67,357 70,812 71,022 72,247 74,616 Sweden 28,407 46,085 53,601 61,824 70,549 79,643 81,228 78,646 United Kingdom 30,785 47,747 57,315 64,709 71,981 77,776,620 77,878 Table 2b. Average annual rates of change Country United States Canada Australia Japan Republic of Korea Singapore Austria Czech Republic NA NA NA Denmark France Germany NA 1.1 NA Ireland Italy Netherlands Norway Spain Sweden United Kingdom Note: Data for Germany for years before 1991 pertain to the former West Germany. NA = Not available. PPPs = purchasing power parities. 10 Tables

11 Real GDP per hour worked, by country, Table 3a. Converted to U.S. dollars using 9 PPPs (9 U.S. dollars) Country United States NA Canada NA Australia NA Japan NA Republic of Korea NA NA Singapore NA Austria NA NA NA NA Czech Republic NA NA NA Denmark NA NA France NA Germany NA Ireland NA NA Italy NA NA Netherlands NA NA NA Norway NA Spain NA Sweden NA NA United Kingdom NA Table 3b. Average annual rates of change Country United States Canada Australia Japan Republic of Korea NA NA Singapore Austria NA NA NA Czech Republic NA NA NA Denmark France Germany NA 2.2 NA Ireland NA NA Italy NA NA Netherlands NA NA NA Norway Spain Sweden NA NA United Kingdom Note: Data for Germany for years before 1991 pertain to the former West Germany. NA = Not available. PPPs = purchasing power parities. 11 Tables

12 Real GDP, by country, Table 4a. Converted to U.S. dollars using 9 PPPs (In millions of 9 U.S. dollars) Country United States 3,103,076 6,417,927 8,6,316 9,968,010 12,305,319 13,853,514 14,500,678 14,119,000 Canada 255, , , ,091 1,095,957 1,242,639 1,312,595 1,2,279 Australia 155, , , , , , , ,157 Japan 553,194 2,1,799 3,527,431 3,782,477 3,967,009 4,232,273 4,367,502 4,138,481 Republic of Korea 37,286, , , ,332 1,168,3 1,321,797 1,324,383 Singapore 6,816 35,405 82, , , 207, , ,651 Austria 79, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,917 Czech Republic NA NA NA 183, , , , ,748 Denmark 61, , , , , , , ,265 NA 91, , , , , , ,348 France 505,622 1,248,933 1,610,246 1,705,311 1,958,507 2,127,122 2,230,734 2,172,097 Germany 719,624 1,456,659 1,859,473 2,577,860 2,847,205 2,932,906 3,139,328 2,984,440 Ireland NA 51,851 70,706 88, , , , ,707 Italy 504,415 1,233,947 1,618,978 1,724,542 1,894,821 1,9,290 2,023,524 1,921,576 Netherlands 158, , , , , , , ,156 Norway 52, , , , , , , ,731 Spain NA 681, , ,863 1,216,569 1,428,598 1,552,161 1,495,683 Sweden 103, , , , , , , ,593 United Kingdom 734,839 1,202,986 1,540,105 1,670,713 1,978,247 2,237,935 2,373,615 2,256,830 Table 4b. Average annual rates of change Country United States Canada Australia Japan Republic of Korea Singapore Austria Czech Republic NA NA NA Denmark France Germany NA 2.2 NA Ireland Italy Netherlands Norway Spain Sweden United Kingdom Note: Data for Germany for years before 1991 pertain to the former West Germany. NA = Not available. PPPs = purchasing power parities. 12 Tables

13 Population, by country, Table 5a. Millions of persons Country United States Canada Australia Japan Republic of Korea Singapore Austria Czech Republic NA NA NA Denmark France Germany Ireland Italy Netherlands Norway Spain Sweden United Kingdom Table 5b. Average annual rates of change Country United States Canada Australia Japan Republic of Korea Singapore Austria Czech Republic NA NA NA Denmark France Germany NA 0.3 NA Ireland Italy Netherlands Norway Spain Sweden United Kingdom Note: Data for Germany for years before 1991 pertain to the former West Germany. NA = Not available. 13 Tables

14 Employment, by country, Table 6a. Millions of persons Country United States Canada Australia Japan Republic of Korea NA Singapore NA Austria Czech Republic NA NA NA Denmark NA France Germany Ireland Italy Netherlands Norway Spain NA Sweden United Kingdom Table 6b. Average annual rates of change Country United States Canada Australia Japan Republic of Korea Singapore Austria Czech Republic NA NA NA Denmark France Germany NA 1.1 NA Ireland Italy Netherlands Norway Spain Sweden United Kingdom Note: Data for Germany for years before 1991 pertain to the former West Germany. NA = Not available. 14 Tables

15 Average annual hours worked per employed person, by country, Table 7a. Hours Country United States NA 1,829 1,9 1,846 1,857 1,784 1,765 1,734 Canada NA 1,824 1,797 1,4 1,795 1,762 1,745 1,714 Australia NA 1,859 1,792 1,5 1,799 1,754 1,750 1,712 Japan NA 2,132 2,062 1,911 1,857 1,814 1,795 1,765 Republic of Korea NA NA 2,798 2,730 2,631 2,501 2,392 2,387 Singapore NA 2,388 2,425 2,456 2,451 2,425 2,414 2,399 Austria NA NA NA 1,699 1,721 1,699 1,681 1,673 NA 1,720 1,656 1,5 1,545 1,565 1,568 1,540 Czech Republic NA NA NA 2,017 2,056 1,965 1,962 1,891 Denmark NA 1,636 1,539 1,540 1,581 1,579 1,570 1,566 NA 1,869 1,769 1,776 1,751 1,716 1,704 1,672 France NA 1,868 1,705 1,651 1,591 1,557 1,560 1,559 Germany NA 1,770 1,578 1,534 1,473 1,434 1,430 1,390 Ireland NA NA 1,988 1,875 1,719 1,654 1,601 1,555 Italy NA NA 1,867 1,859 1,861 1,819 1,9 1,773 Netherlands NA NA NA 1,512 1,4 1,417 1,401 1,384 Norway NA 1,5 1,503 1,488 1,455 1,420 1,423 1,408 Spain NA 1,766 1,608 1,592 1,653 1,597 1,572 1,579 Sweden NA NA 1,575 1,640 1,642 1,605 1,625 1,611 United Kingdom NA 1,820 1,751 1,728 1,698 1,674 1,665 1,643 Table 7b. Average annual rates of change Country United States Canada Australia Japan Republic of Korea NA NA Singapore Austria NA NA NA Czech Republic NA NA NA Denmark France Germany NA -1.0 NA Ireland NA NA Italy NA NA Netherlands NA NA NA Norway Spain Sweden NA NA United Kingdom Note: Data for Germany for years before 1991 pertain to the former West Germany. NA = Not available. 15 Tables

16 Employment as percentage of population, by country, Table 8. Country United States Canada Australia Japan Republic of Korea NA Singapore NA Austria Czech Republic NA NA NA Denmark NA France Germany Ireland Italy Netherlands Norway Spain NA Sweden United Kingdom Note: Data for Germany for years before 1991 pertain to the former West Germany. NA = Not available. 16 Tables

17 Purchasing power parities (PPPs), exchange rates, and relative prices, by country, 9 Table 9. (U.S.=1.00) Country PPPs for GDP Exchange rates Relative prices 1 United States Canada Australia Japan Republic of Korea Singapore Austria Czech Republic Denmark France Germany Ireland Italy Netherlands Norway Spain Sweden United Kingdom Relative prices are the ratio of PPPs to exchange rates. They are a measure of how expensive goods and services are in a country relative to the United States. A number greater than 1 indicates relatively higher prices while a number less than 1 indicates relatively lower prices. See technical notes. 17 Tables

18 Technical notes This report updates the international comparisons report on GDP per capita and related measures produced annually by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Previous versions of the report were titled International comparisons of GDP per capita and per employed person. The estimates shown in this report are based on data available as of August With this year s edition, the Czech Republic, and have been added to the comparisons, and data for Ireland are now available for all indicators. In addition, tables on real GDP, population, employment, and average annual hours worked are now included in the report. Data are available for all countries through 9. These technical notes provide definitions, sources, and methods for the basic time series and indicators included in this report. Gross domestic product Gross domestic product (GDP) is the market value of goods and services produced by labor and capital in a country, regardless of nationality (see table 4). As such, it is the most comprehensive measure of a country's economic output that is generally estimated by statistical agencies. The GDP measures in this report were obtained from the national accounts programs of their respective national statistical agencies. For all countries in this comparison, data for more recent years have been produced using chain linked real output measures as recommended in the 1993 United Nations System of National Accounts (SNA93). For several countries, however, older data were produced on a 1968 United Nations System of National Accounts (SNA68). Data produced on an SNA68 basis used fixed baseyear deflators that were typically updated only every 5 years. In order to construct one continuous GDP series, BLS links several time series, each of which has its own set of base-year price weights. The U.S. GDP series are produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and are based on the system of national income and product accounts (NIPAs), which are also prepared in accordance with SNA93. Gross national income Gross National Income (GNI) is equivalent to GDP except that it includes net income flows from abroad, which are the sum of all income received by one country from investments in other countries, minus income from investments that flow to other countries. The GNI measures in this report have been prepared in accordance with SNA93. Most GNI measures in this report were obtained from the national accounts programs of their respective national statistical agencies. However, for some countries the data were obtained from Eurostat and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The U.S. GNI series is based on the system of national income and product accounts (NIPAs) estimated by BEA. GDP per capita GDP per capita is calculated as GDP divided by population and is a rough measure of a population s economic well being. (See table 1.) However, this measure may have the following limitations: The total production of a country consists of many things that are not included in its GDP, and some items included may not contribute to a country's well-being. In addition, some countries experience significant in- and out-flows of income because of foreign investment, which may affect a country s prosperity. 18 Technical notes

19 GDP per hour worked and GDP per employed person GDP per hour worked is one measure of labor productivity. (See table 3.) Although it relates output to labor hours involved in its production by all persons in a country, it does not measure the specific contribution of labor or any other factor of production. Rather, it reflects the joint effects of many influences, including changes in technology; capital investment; utilization of capacity, energy, and materials; the use of purchased services inputs, including contract employment services; the organization of production; and managerial skill; in addition to the characteristics and effort of the workforce. In addition to GDP per hour worked, this report also provides GDP per employed person. (See table 2.) GDP per employed person is a less precise measure of labor productivity in that it does not take into account the often substantial differences in working hours among countries; however, data on GDP per employed person are available for longer time periods and are thus useful as a rough indicator of labor productivity for years in which GDP per hour data are not available. Comparative levels of time series with real output using purchasing power parities (PPPs) In order to make international comparisons of levels of GDP, GDP per capita, GDP per hour worked, and GDP per employed persons, it is necessary to express output in a common currency unit. In this report, BLS converted the output measures from national currency units to U.S. dollars through the use of purchasing power parities (PPPs). PPPs are currency conversion rates that allow output in different currency units to be expressed in a common unit of value in this case, U.S. dollars. There are two primary reasons for using PPPs rather than market exchange rates to convert GDP into a common currency. First, PPPs reflect the relative purchasing powers of different currencies. By contrast, market exchange rates represent at best relative prices of goods and services that are traded internationally, not the relative value of total domestic output, which also consists of goods, and particularly services, that are not traded internationally. Second, PPPs are more stable than market exchange rates, which can vary frequently and abruptly. Often these changes in market exchange rates are due to currency speculation or interest rates changes. Thus if GDP is converted into a common currency using exchange rates, the output of a country's economy could appear to vary for reasons that are unrelated to the country s economic activity. The levels of GDP in this report were derived as follows. First, real GDP series from each country was expressed in constant prices of the national currency in 9. Next, each country's constant GDP series was divided by the country s PPP for 9 as calculated by the OECD-Eurostat PPP Program 1 or the International Monetary Fund (IMF), thereby converting the series into constant 9 U.S. dollars. Finally, the time series of GDP per capita, per employed person, and per hour were estimated by dividing each country's GDP in 9 dollars by its population, employment, and hours, respectively. PPPs are an effective tool for international comparisons of output levels, but they should be used and interpreted with caution, as the accuracy of PPPs may be limited by several factors; for example, goods and services included in the calculation of PPPs may not be representative of the entire economy or comparable across countries, countries may use different price aggregation methods, and the statistical capabilities among countries may differ. Although comparative estimates like GDP per capita are useful 1 OECD and Eurostat, Purchasing Power Parities and Real Expenditures. 5 Benchmark Year, 7 Edition. 19 Technical notes

20 for grouping countries, changes in country rankings can occur as a result of relatively minor adjustments to PPP estimates. Thus, small differences between countries are not, in general, economically significant, and a strict ranking order interpretation should be avoided. Currency exchange rates and relative prices The currency exchange rate is the rate at which one currency may be converted into the currency of another country for commercial purposes, such as international trade. The market exchange rates in this report are based on reports by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board. (See table 9.) The relationship between PPPs and market exchange rates can be used to estimate comparative prices in different countries. This report calculates relative prices in 9 by dividing a country s PPP by its market exchange rate. (See table 9.) The resulting values indicate the domestic price, expressed in U.S. dollars, of a basket of goods that would cost exactly one dollar in the United States. Consequently, values less than 1.00 indicate that prices in that country are relatively low compared with the United States. Values greater than 1.00 indicate that prices in a particular country are relatively high compared with the United States. Population and employment The population data in this report represent the total average resident population, which refers to the civilian population and the armed forces residing within a country. (See table 5.) The data are derived from national statistical agencies and international organizations. The employment data in this report represent the number of persons employed, which consists of the sum of civilian employment and armed forces. (See table 6.) Most of the data are obtained from the countries' national accounts, where the data series have been developed from various surveys and other sources, including labor force (household) and establishment surveys. In some cases, the data have been supplemented with data obtained from other series published by national statistical or international organizations. The employment-population ratio measures the participation of the population in the production process. (See table 8.) In this report, the population and employment figures include the Armed Forces. This inclusion is a conceptual difference to the population and employment figures published in the BLS report International comparisons of annual labor force statistics, 10 countries, 2 which exclude the Armed Forces. Hours worked The hours worked data in this report represent hours actually worked, including regular work time, overtime, preparing the work place, waiting for supplies, and short rests. Hours worked exclude vacation, sick leave, lunch breaks, and commuting to and from work. Hours worked may not be fully comparable across countries because national statistical offices may use different concepts, data sources, and estimation techniques to calculate total hours worked; for exam- 2 This report is available on the Internet at 20 Technical notes

21 ple, the employment series may refer to the number of persons or the number of jobs, hours worked may be estimated from hours paid, and different establishment and household surveys may be used to cover all employees, self-employed, and Armed Forces. These differences may affect the comparability of hours worked data among different countries. 3 For most countries, the hours data used in this report are obtained from the countries' national accounts, where the data series have been developed from various surveys and other sources. For some countries, the data are based on other series published by national statistical or international organizations. Data limitations BLS prepares the data in this report with the utmost attention to comparability across countries. However, there are several issues that limit the comparability, including the following: Different national methodologies: The measures in this report were calculated from data that were obtained from national statistical agencies and international organizations. While these data are generally comparable, some differences remain in the statistical methodologies used by these organizations. Missing data for recent years: In some cases, when data for the most recent year(s) are not available, BLS may estimate the missing data using alternative data series. Different historical methodologies: National statistical agencies change their methodology periodically. As a result, continuous time series from 1960 forward are generally not available. In order to construct longer time series, BLS often links several shorter series that may have used different methodologies. 3 Some of these differences are addressed by Susan Fleck in "International comparisons of hours worked: an assessment of the statistics," Monthly Labor Review, May 9, pp Technical notes

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