Labour cost levels by NACE Rev. 2 activity (lc_lci_lev)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

F3: Labour market

1.5. Contact mail address

2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 01/08/2019
2.2. Metadata last posted 27/03/2020
2.3. Metadata last update 27/03/2020

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

Labour cost statistics constitute a hierarchical system of multi-annual, yearly and quarterly statistics, designed to provide a comprehensive and detailed picture of the level, structure and short-term development of labour costs in the different sectors of economic activity in the European Union and certain other countries. All statistics are based on a harmonised definition of labour costs.

The labour cost levels are based on the latest Labour Cost Survey (currently 2016) and an extrapolation based on the quarterly Labour Cost Index (LCI). The levels are available in euro and national currency.

The Labour Cost Survey is a four-yearly survey that collects levels of labour costs at a very detailed level. For the purpose of extrapolating with the LCI, data are only used at a very aggregated level.

The quarterly LCI is a Euro Indicator which measures the cost pressure arising from the production factor "labour". The data covered in the LCI collection relate to total average hourly labour costs and to the labour cost categories "wages and salaries" and "employers' social security contributions plus taxes paid minus subsidies received by the employer". Data - also broken down by economic activity, are available for the EU aggregates and EU Member States (NACE Rev 2 Sections B to S), in working day and seasonally adjusted form. The data on the Labour Cost Index are given in the form of index numbers (current reference year: 2016) and of annual and quarterly growth rates (comparison with the previous quarter, or the same quarter of the previous year).

The data are estimated by the National Statistical Institutes on the basis of available structural and short-term information from samples and administrative records for enterprises of all sizes.

3.2. Classification system

The total hourly labour costs are available for the following aggregates of NACE rev. 2: B-S excl. O, B-N, B-E, F, G-N, P-S.

For the two main aggregates (B-S excl. O and B-N) the breakdown into wages and salaries (D11) and other costs (D12-D4 minus D5) is also available.

All figures are available in euro and national currency.

General Industrial Classification of Economic Activities (NACE) Rev. 2.

Countries are presented with their standard ISO two-letter-codes.

3.3. Coverage - sector

NACE Rev. 2 Sections B to S excl. O

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

In the context of the Labour Cost Index, Labour Costs are defined as core expenditure borne by employers for the purpose of employing staff. They include employee compensation, with wages and salaries in cash and in kind, employers' social security contributions and employment taxes regarded as labour costs minus any subsidies received, but not vocational training costs or other expenditure such as recruitment costs and spending on working clothes (by contrast with multiannual and annual labour cost data). These labour cost components and their elements are defined in Commission Regulation (EC) No 1726/1999 of 27 July 1999 implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 530/1999 concerning structural statistics on earnings and labour costs as regards the definition and transmission of information on labour costs.

The quarterly Labour Cost Index measures short-term trends in "average hourly labour costs", defined as (total) labour costs divided by the corresponding number of hours worked in the quarter in question (see paragraphs 11.26 to 11.31 of Annex A, Chapter 11, to Council Regulation (EC) No 2223/1996 of 25 June 1996 on the European system of national and regional accounts in the Community for the definition of hours worked). Annual figures are calculated as the arithmetic mean of the quarterly values.

All labour cost indices are annual chain-linked Laspeyres indices. Trends in average hourly labour costs for an individual economic activity/country are weighted by the total labour costs associated with that activity/country, which are fixed for one year in order to obtain national or European aggregates.

LCI data are presented in the form of index numbers (current reference year: 2016) and annual and quarterly growth rates (comparison with the previous quarter).

Apart from the overall Labour Cost Index, indices are also available for the labour cost components "wages and salaries" and "employers' social security contributions plus taxes paid minus subsidies received by the employer (Labour costs other than wages and salaries)". For some Member States, an index excluding "bonuses" - defined as bonuses and allowances not paid in every remuneration period is also available.

3.5. Statistical unit

The statistical unit can be the enterprise or the local unit, with 10 or more employees. Although the labour cost indices cover all units in the NACE sections considered, the basis from the labour cost survey does not cover small businesses.

3.6. Statistical population

The LCS applies to all activities in sectors B to S excl. O of NACE Rev. 2 and represents all statistical units, with 10 or more employees.

The LCI applies to all activities in sectors B to S of NACE Rev. 2 and represents all statistical units, regardless of size.

3.7. Reference area

Data are available for the EU and Euro area aggregates and all EU Member States. Data are also available for Norway.

3.8. Coverage - Time

Data are available for the years 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and continously since 2016.

3.9. Base period

The base is the 2016 Labour Cost Survey. All values after are based on the LCI.

4. Unit of measure Top

Units of currency, i.e. Euro and National Currencies.

5. Reference Period Top

The annual data cover the whole calendar year.

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

No specific legislation as data is based on other statistics (LCS and LCI).

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not applicable.

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Not applicable.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

Within one month of the release of the LCI for the fourth quarter (and thereby the annual figures).

8.2. Release calendar access

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top


10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

News releases on-line. Latest news release

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Annual news release and Statistics Explained

Latest news release

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult free data on-line or refer to contact details.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

10.6. Documentation on methodology

The latest 2-yearly report (2016) to the European Parliament and the Council is available here:

10.7. Quality management - documentation

National quality reports are currently available on request. It is foreseen to have most of the information available in connection with this metadata.

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

After calculation, results are validated by Member States for plausibility. As data bases on other validated data, no further validation is done.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

Annual quality reports for the LCI from each Member State are collected and evaluated by Eurostat.

The overall quality is deemed to be good, within the general aggregates provided. Further breakdowns are not available as the quality becomes uncertain in these cases.

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

There is wide media and user interest for this calculation. Also it is like the LCI responding to the needs of the European Central Bank and Commission services for monitoring price stability. Private companies may use the labour cost levels for evaluating contracts, wage agreements and competitiveness analysis.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

There are regular contacts with the main users (ECB and Commission services). Generally user satisfaction is high, but many users would appreciate further breakdowns. So far the quality was not deemed sufficient.

12.3. Completeness

Data is complete. For countries with missing LCI data deliveries, Eurostat estimates the missing quarters until these are delivered.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

The quarterly LCI is subject to frequent revisions, due to corrected or updated rawdata lying underneath the index. The European aggregates are rarely revised by more than 0.2 percentage points in either direction. As the labour cost levels are based on the annual LCI revisions are smaller and less frequent. They may however occur.

13.2. Sampling error

Not applicable

13.3. Non-sampling error

Some MS estimate results for certain parts of the economy, e.g. business with less than 3 or 5 employees. There is no information on the impact of this under-coverage.

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

According to the legal obligation, LCI data are sent to Eurostat 70 days after the end of the reference period. The data are then made available for general distribution subject to favourable checks.

14.2. Punctuality

Not applicable.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

Data are comparable between countries. Note that the LCI does not give information on the level of labour cost in a specific Member State, but about its development only.

15.2. Comparability - over time

Data are comparable over time.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Structural Business Statistics (SBS, annual data) and the Labour Force Survey (quarterly data) are surveys that partly measure similar or identical variables, such as "number of employees" or "wages and salaries". Whilst the National Accounts (NA) and the Labour Cost Survey (LCS) are closely related, certain coherence problems should be taken into account when comparing data relating to the same variables from the four different sources (LCS, SBS, Structure of Earnings Survey (SES), NA). Some of these problems are described in paragraph 15.3 of the ESMS file on Labour Cost Surveys "lcs_r2_esms".

15.4. Coherence - internal

All figures are checked for internal consistency

16. Cost and Burden Top

None for the Member States. The data are collected for other purposes already.

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

As the data may be based to some extent on estimates, or incomplete data, the most recently available data are particularly subject to revision. Because of the numerous revisions, the data are never considered to be final.

17.2. Data revision - practice

The general public is informed about possible revisions in the news releases. Revisions occur each quarter, due to corrected or updated rawdata lying underneath the index.

In the last six quarters, the revisions for EU aggregates have never exceeded 0.2 percentage points for the headline rate.

In the LCI dedicated section ( a revision file (LCI real time releases since June 2009 (EU and Euro area aggregates)) is available showing frozen series.

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

Member States may produce the necessary estimates by using surveys, other appropriate sources such as administrative data and statistical estimation procedures.

Different estimation methods are used, including the application of growth rates of the average hourly labour costs to the results of the latest structural survey, reference to separate growth rates for labour costs and hours worked, or the application of growth rates of some labour cost components to all or other labour cost components.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

LCI data is collected at quarterly intervals.

LCS data is collect every 4 years.

18.3. Data collection

Not applicable

18.4. Data validation

Data communicated by individual countries for LCI and LCS are checked systematically for internal consistency.

No separate checks are made for this statistic, except for standard rankings of countries.

18.5. Data compilation

Labour costs are measured in current prices in national currencies.

EU aggregates are obtained as weighted averages of the national data. To create comparable weights, data from non-Euro countries are converted into Euros.

18.6. Adjustment

The data from the LCS are annual un-adjusted data. The LCI used for the extrapolation is generally the un-adjusted index, except for Denmark, France and Sweden, where this is not available. Here the working-day adjust index is used.

19. Comment Top

Not relevant

Related metadata Top

Annexes Top
Labour cost levels by NACE Rev. 2 Methods and definitions