2014 World Textile Industry Labor Cost Comparison

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According to the latest Werner International Labor Cost Comparison Report, labor cost gaps remained huge among textile industries worldwide in 2014. Within the 40 countries covered by the report, labor cost in Switzerland ($51.36/hour), the highest, was 82 times higher than in Bangladesh and Pakistan ($0.62/hour), the lowest, in 2014. Overall, labor cost in Western European countries (such as Italy, France and Germany)+Japan remained the highest in the world, followed by (from high to low):

  • the United States
  • advanced economies in East Asia (South Korea and Taiwan)
  • Eastern European countries (such as Poland)
  • South American countries (such as Brazil and Peru) 
  • developing countries in East and Southeast Asia (such as Bangladesh and Pakistan).

[Note: The report does not cover African countries].

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On the other hand, consistent with statistics from other sources, Werner’s report also suggests remarkable labor cost increase in China, which is rapidly approaching the $3 per operator hour (up from $2.1 in 2011 and up from only 0.69 US$ in the year 2000). From 2000 to 2014, labor cost in the U.S. textile industry went up about 25 percent. However, in terms of absolute difference, China’s labor cost was still only 15 percent of the level in the United States in 2014. As noted by the publisher, the labor cost comparison report covers all primary textile industry sectors, consisting of spinning, weaving and dyeing & finishing. Cut & sewing operations are not part of these comparisons. Labor cost in the clothing industry is not covered by the report however.

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