In 2014, average hourly labour costs in the whole economy (excluding agriculture and public administration) were estimated to be EUR 24.6 in the European Union and EUR 29.2 in the euro area. However, this average masks significant gaps between EU Member States, with the lowest hourly labour costs recorded in Bulgaria (EUR 3.8), Romania (EUR 4.6), Lithuania (EUR 6.5 or LTL 22.3) and Latvia (EUR 6.6) and the highest in Denmark (EUR 40.3), Belgium (EUR 39.1), Sweden (EUR 37.4) and Luxembourg (EUR 35.9), Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union reports.
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

Within the business economy, labour costs per hour were highest in industry (EUR 25.5 in the EU and EUR 32.0 in the euro area), followed by services (EUR 24.3 and EUR 28.2 respectively) and construction (EUR 22.0 and EUR 25.8). In the mainly non-business economy (excluding public administration), labour costs per hour were EUR 24.7 in the EU and EUR 29.1 in the euro area in 2014.

Labour costs are made up of wages and salaries and non-wage costs such as employers' social contributions. The share of non-wage costs in the whole economy was 24.4 percent in the EU and 26.1 percent in the euro area, with the lowest in Malta (6.9 percent) and Denmark (13.1 percent) and the highest in Sweden (31.6 percent) and France (33.1 percent).

These estimates for 2014 come from a publication issued by Eurostat. Data cover enterprises with 10 or more employees and are based on the 2012 Labour Cost Survey and the Labour Cost Index.

Between 2013 and 2014, hourly labour costs in the whole economy expressed in euro rose by 1.4 percent in the EU and by 1.1 percent in the euro area.

Within the euro area, the largest increases were recorded in Estonia (+6.6 pct), Latvia (+6.0 pct) and Slovakia (+5.2 pct). Decreases were observed in Cyprus (-2.8 pct), Portugal (-0.8 pct) and Ireland (-0.2 pct).

For Member States outside the euro area in 2014, and expressed in national currency, the largest increases in hourly labour costs in the whole economy between 2013 and 2014 were registered in Romania (+6.0 pct), Lithuania and Poland (both +3.5 pct) and Hungary (+3.3 pct), and the smallest in Denmark (+0.9 pct) and the United Kingdom (+1.3 pct).

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