$50 an hour on the assembly line?
Manufacturing pay in China has nearly tripled over the past decade. A similar rise in the US would have factory workers cheering, though not without potential consequences.
Americans can complain about China's wage advantage over the U.S. and its impact on manufacturing growth all they'd like. If American workers and employers pushed for the wage increases sought by Chinese workers, factory pay in the U.S. would be more than $50 an hour.
As Bloomberg discovered, pay for workers in China's manufacturing industry has nearly tripled in some cases as its labor pool thins and employees name their price at far-flung facilities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, average hourly wages for China's manufacturing workers rose from 62 cents an hour in 2003 to $1.36 an hour in 2008.
Even that's a conservative estimate, as a more recent Japanese survey puts average monthly wages between $320 and $350. On the high end, that's roughly $2.20 an hour, or more than triple the average wage in 2003.
Had a similar push occurred in the U.S., the average hourly manufacturing wage of $15.61 quoted by the BLS would have soared to $46.23; in reality, it has struggled even to keep up with inflation, creeping up to $19.28. As China's discovering, however, such a leap comes with steep consequences.
What's driving the boost that, incrementally, is eating away at China's wage advantage over the U.S., Europe and other Asian countries like South Korea? Put simply, a nation of 1.35 billion people has a shortage of young, qualified industrial labor and its workers know it. In September, 2,000 employees rioted at a Foxconn facility in Taiyuan, calling for better working conditions and temporarily shutting down the plant used by the maker of Apple's (AAPL) iPad, Sony's (SNE) PlayStation and Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle products.
In October, pushback from workers at a Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou over a national holiday and vacation time sent ripples through Apple's iPhone 5 supply chain and forced both the tech giant and its supplier to publicly assure the world that all was well and that its precious tech playthings were still on the way.
As Foxconn and other China-based companies are discovering, according to Bloomberg, China's labor force is well aware that it's a rare commodity. Factories built in peanut fields well outside the cities are being forced to pay the workers the same wages as their urban counterparts, doubling workers' take in some cases.
Americans know all too well how this story plays out. While better wages and working conditions in China mean more potential buying power for Chinese workers and a boost to the overall Chinese economy as a result, it also means higher prices worldwide until price- and bottom-line-focused multinational businesses find their next rich pool of cheap and exploitable labor. China's already getting a bit ahead of itself on the “buying power” end of that equation by building vast developments of empty homes its citizens aren't quite ready to buy. But manufacturers are already looking to Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines for their next low-cost labor pools.
China's surging wages won't help U.S. paychecks, but they just might give the global economy a needed boost.
Chinese wages increased $0.84
This guys is saying that equates to $30.62 in the US.
So, which one do you think would raise the price of the goods more.
Obviously, this guy does not know direct costing and how manufacturing costs affect the end costs.
This is two articles today where MSNBC has no clue.
First, find how many CEO's are worth $50 per hour and then complain about working people making that kind of money. At least, if our workers were making that kind of money, they would have spent it here in the United States and creating other jobs.
CEO's make thousands per hour and get paid whether they make the company money or drive it into oblivion. What is wrong about American workers making a living wage? What is right about Chinese workers getting paid peanuts for working in sweatshop conditions with no health care or regard for safety?
Don't kid yourself. I have been to China twice on business and while you still see the rickshaws here and there, you will never see more Lamborginis or Maseratis anywhere else.
And if as many economists predict, the Yuan displaces the dollar, then its over for us. We can only hope they will send us aid.
When I was in China In 2006 you could by a dozen eggs ,a loaf of bread and a pint of milk for less then a dollar.
in the USA you could buy the same for about six dollars.
Is all I have to say is look in the mirror & thank our selves, because we are buying their crap. This so-called WORLD ECONOMY B.S. ain't no world economy. It's a U.S. economy supporting the WORLD! we need to bring our companies back home & take care of one-another (our fellow AMERICANS) FIRST, then we might think about sending MY money somewhere else. By the the way GOOD JOB CORPORATE AMERICA & THE GOVERNMENT FOR SENDING MY HARD EARNED MONEY OVERSEAS! Here is a fact for the nay-sayers trade deficit is roughly 50 BILLION U.S. dollars A MONTH, lets keep our money here & SUPPORT OUR FELLOW AMERICANS. We desrve it, we all work hard for our money.
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