Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

2005: The July Review

Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

2005: The July Review

Article excerpt

As anyone who has been to a gas station lately will attest, the price of imports is having an impact on the American economy. According to the lead article by Kristen Locatelli, two of the factors leading to a wide range of substantial import price movements are the growth in international demand and a weakening of the dollar against the currencies of several major trading partners.

One of the forces behind the rise in international demand has been China. According to Locatelli, China's demand for raw materials has tightened supplies and the concomitant rises in prices for industrial supplies and materials have put additional upward pressure on prices for manufactured goods.

Given the increasing presence of China in international markets, Judith Banister's report on manufacturing employment in China is especially timely. This detailed look at China's manufacturing sector and its deployment of labor will be continued in a forthcoming issue by a report on its wages.

The next two articles explore the issues arising in retail trade output and productivity measurement. Marilyn E. Manser surveys the alternate concepts for measuring retail output--sectoral output or sales, gross margins, and value added. As concepts, these are quite different. However, Manser finds that, while productivity measures based on these alternative concepts also differ somewhat, they all show a large increase in productivity in the late 1990s, compared with the first half of the decade. …

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