Between 2008 and 2012, hourly labour costs in the whole economy have risen by 8.6% in the EU27 and by 8.7% in the euro area.
In 2012, average hourly labour costs in the whole economy (excluding agriculture and public administration) were estimated to be €23.4 in the EU273 and €28.0 in the euro area (EA17). However, this average masks significant differences between EU Member States, with hourly labour costs ranging from €3.7 in Bulgaria, €4.4 in Romania, €5.8 in Lithuania and €6.0 in Latvia, to €39.0 in Sweden, €38.1 in Denmark, €37.2 in Belgium, €34.6 in Luxembourg and €34.2 in France. When comparing labour cost estimates in euro over time, it should be noted that data for those Member States outside the euro area are influenced by exchange rate movements.
Within the business economy, labour costs per hour were highest in industry (€24.2 in the EU27 and €30.3 in the euro area), followed by services (€23.7 and €27.6 respectively) and construction (€21.0 and €24.3). In the mainly non-business economy (excluding public administration), labour costs per hour were €22.9 in the EU27 and €27.2 in the euro area.
Labour costs are made up of wages & salaries and non-wage costs such as employers' social contributions. The share of non-wage costs in the whole economy was 23.7% in the EU27 and 26.1% in the euro area, varying between 8.2% in Malta and 33.6% in France.
These preliminary estimates for 2012, published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, cover enterprises with 10 or more employees and are based on the 2008 Labour Cost Survey and the Labour Cost Index.
Growth in labour costs
Between 2008 and 2012, hourly labour costs in the whole economy expressed in euro have risen by 8.6% in the EU27 and by 8.7% in the euro area.
Within the euro area, the largest increases were recorded in Austria (+15.5%), Slovakia (+13.8%), Finland (+13.7%) and Belgium (+13.1%), and the smallest in Portugal (+0.4%) and Ireland (+0.8%). The only decrease was observed in Greece (-11.2%).
For Member States outside the euro area, and expressed in national currency, the largest increases in hourly labour costs in the whole economy between 2008 and 2012 were registered in Bulgaria (+42.6%) and Romania (+26.7%), and the smallest in Latvia (+1.3%) and the United Kingdom (+5.2%). The only decrease was observed in Lithuania (-1.4%).