[Excerpt] This chartbook focuses on the labor market situation in selected countries in the 1995-2005 period. Each chart in sections 1 through 4 includes countries in North America (the United States, Canada, and Mexico) and selected Asian-Pacific and European countries. Weighted aggregates for 15 European Union countries (EU-15) are shown on most charts. These represent European Union member countries prior to the expansion of the European Union to 25 countries on May 1, 2004 and to 27 countries on January 1, 2007. The EU-15 countries are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Due to the lack of suitable data, some of the countries do not appear on all charts. It should be noted that the selected countries are not representative of all of Europe and the Asian-Pacific region; rather, they tend to be the more industrialized economies in these regions. In the final section, several indicators are presented for five large emerging economies: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and the Russian Federation. The appendix describes the definitions, sources, and methods used to compile the data in the chartbook. For some series, the appendix provides cautions about the exact comparability of the measures.
Section 1, on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, shows charts that portray overall measures of comparative living standards. Section 2 highlights the state of the labor market by comparing major labor force, employment, and unemployment indicators. Section 3 examines the competitive position of the United States in the global marketplace by comparing hourly compensation costs in manufacturing, trends in manufacturing labor productivity and unit labor costs, and manufacturing output as a percent of world manufacturing output. Section 4 includes charts that compare public expenditures on labor market programs, regulation measures on labor and product markets, taxes on labor, and foreign trade in goods. Section 5 presents eight charts on various topics for the large emerging economies.