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Bureau of International Labor Affairs

ILAB Press Release: Labor Department Releases Data On Wages In Apparel And Footwear Industries [03/03/2000]

For more information call: (202) 219-6373 X 4

The Labor Department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs today released a report on wages and other economic characteristics for work in the apparel and footwear industries in the United States and 35 other countries that are major suppliers of the U.S. market.

The report, "Wages, Benefits, Poverty Line, and Meeting Workers' Needs in the Apparel and Footwear Industries of Selected Countries," presents information on the relationship between wages, benefits, poverty line and basic needs of workers.

The report presents factual compilations and comparisons of publicly available date, but no new or original estimates. The report is intended to serve as a basic reference for further discussion and study and contains no recommendations. Data gaps and cross-country differences made it difficult to make generalizations or reach broad conclusions. Countries also differed in their definitions of poverty measures and how they determined an adequate wage to meet basic needs.

For each of the countries, the report presents publicly available information on five aspects of wages and benefits: (1) minimum wage; (2) prevailing or average wage in the manufacturing sector and the footwear and the apparel industries; (3) non-wage benefits for workers in the footwear and apparel industries; (4) assessments of workers' basic needs using poverty measures; and (5) assessments of the extent to which wages meet such needs.

The main sources of information for the study were data and reports from the International Labor Organization and the World Bank, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, American embassies in each of the 35 selected countries; and, where appropriate, with materials received from the general public in response to a notice published in the Federal Register.

The report is intended to inform the public and be a useful reference in discussions related to wage issues in the apparel and footwear industries around the world. It can serve as a starting point for academics, nongovernmental organizations, and others doing further work on these issues. The report was undertaken in response to a request by the Fair Labor Association and as part of the Labor Department's annual program of research on international economics and labor. In addition, the five data elements correspond to those requested by the Apparel Industry Partnership in its Charter Document for the Fair Labor Association issued in November 1998.

Copies of the report are available from the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room S-5325, Washington, DC 20210; telephone: 202-219-7610; fax: 202-219-5071. The report is also available on the department's web site at

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Bureau of International Labor Affairs
March 3, 2000
Media Contact: David Roberts
Phone Number