Romania ranked second to last in EU on hourly labour costs in 2019
In 2019, average hourly labour costs in the whole economy (excluding agriculture and public administration) were estimated to be EUR 27.7 in the European Union of 27 Member States (EU) and EUR 31.4 in the euro area, reveals the latest Eurostat report.
However, the average masks significant gaps between EU Member States, with the lowest hourly labour costs recorded in Bulgaria (EUR 6.0), Romania (EUR 7.7), Lithuania (EUR 9.4), Hungary and Latvia (both EUR 9.9), and the highest in Denmark (EUR 44.7), Luxembourg (EUR 41.6), Belgium (EUR 40.5), France (EUR 36.6), the Netherlands (EUR 36.4), Sweden (EUR 36.3), Germany (EUR 35.6) and Austria (EUR 34.7).
Hourly labour costs in industry were EUR 28.1 in the EU and EUR 34.1 in the euro area. In construction, they were EUR 24.8 and EUR 28.0, respectively. In services, hourly labour costs were EUR 27.5 in the EU and EUR 30.4 in the euro area. In the mainly non-business economy (excluding public administration), they were EUR 28.4 and EUR 31.8, respectively.
Labour costs consist of wages & salaries and non-wage costs (e.g. employers’ social contributions). The share of non-wage costs in total labour costs for the whole economy was 25.1% in the EU and 25.6% in the euro area. It ranged from 5.3% in Lithuania to 32.9% in France.
These estimates are issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Data cover enterprises with 10 or more employees and are based on Labour Cost Survey data for 2016, which are extrapolated through the Labour Cost Index.
Hourly labour costs increased most in Romania, least in Malta
In 2019, compared with previous year, hourly labour costs in the whole economy expressed in Euro rose by 2.9% in the EU and by 2.5% in the euro area.
Within the euro area, the largest increases were recorded in Slovakia (+7.8%), Estonia (+7.7%), and Latvia (+7.4%). Hourly labour costs increased least in Malta (+1.0%) and Finland (+1.4%).
When comparing labour cost estimates over time, levels expressed in national currency should be used to eliminate the influence of exchange rate movements. For Member States outside the euro area in 2019, the largest increases in hourly labour costs in the whole economy, expressed in national currency, were observed in Romania (+13.1%) and Bulgaria (+11.7%). They increased least in Denmark (+1.9%) and Sweden (+2.2%