Lowest in Bulgaria and Romania, highest in Denmark and Belgium
In 2017, average hourly labour costs in the whole economy (excluding agriculture and public administration) were estimated to be €26.8 in the European Union (EU) and €30.3 in the euro area. However, this average masks significant gaps between EU Member States, with the lowest hourly labour costs recorded in Bulgaria (€4.9), Romania (€6.3), Lithuania (€8.0), Latvia (€8.1), Hungary (€9.1) and Poland (€9.4), and the highest in Denmark (€42.5), Belgium (€39.6), Luxembourg (€37.6), Sweden (€36.6) and France (€36.0).
Hourly labour costs in industry were €27.4 in the EU and €33.4 in the euro area. In services, they were €26.6 and €29.3, respectively. In construction, hourly labour costs were €23.7 in the EU and €26.7 in the euro area. In the mainly non-business economy (excluding public administration), they were €27.2 and €30.1, 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 24.0% in the EU and 25.9% in the euro area. It ranged from 6.7% in Malta to 32.8% 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 2012, which are extrapolated through the Labour Cost Index.
Decrease in hourly labour costs in Finland
In 2017, compared to previous year, hourly labour costs in the whole economy expressed in € rose by 2.3% in the EU and by 1.9% in the euro area.
When comparing labour cost estimates over time, levels expressed in national currency should be used to eliminate the influence of exchange rate movements.
Within the euro area, the largest increases were recorded in the Baltic Member States: Lithuania (+9.0%), Estonia (+7.4%) and Latvia (+7.0%). The only decrease was observed in Finland (-1.5%).
For Member States outside the euro area in 2017, the largest increase in hourly labour costs in the whole economy, expressed in national currency, were observed in Romania (+17.1%) and Bulgaria (+12.0%).