Euro area labour costs rose by 3.8% EU27 by 4.6%

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EU Labour CostsTotal hourly labour costs in the euro area (EA15) rose by 3.8% in nominal terms in the year up to the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with 4.2% for the previous quarter. In the EU27, the annual rise was 4.6% up to the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with 4.2% for the previous quarter.

The two main components of labour costs are wages & salaries and non-wage costs. In the euro area, wages & salaries grew by 3.9% in the year up to the fourth quarter of 2008, and non-wage costs by 3.6%, compared with 4.2% and 4.3% respectively for the third quarter of 2008. In the EU27, wages & salaries rose by 4.7% and the non-wage component by 4.2%. For the previous quarter the corresponding rates were 4.3% and 4.1%.

The breakdown by economic activity shows that in the euro area hourly labour costs rose at an annual rate of 5.4% in industry, 5.1% in construction and 2.6% in services up to the fourth quarter of 2008. In the EU27, labour costs grew by 6.0% in industry, 5.1% in construction and 3.8% in services.

Member States

Among the Member States for which data was available for the fourth quarter of 2008 the smallest annual increase in hourly labour cost was observed in Malta (0.4%). The highest annual rises were registered in Romania (21.5%), Bulgaria (17.9%) and Latvia (17.2%).

These figures come from Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities.

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