(28 March 2022) – In 2021, average hourly labour costs in the whole economy were estimated to be €29.1 in the EU and €32.8 in the euro area, up compared with €28.6 and €32.4, respectively, in 2020.
The average hourly labour costs mask significant gaps between EU Member States, with the lowest hourly labour costs recorded in Bulgaria (€7.0) and Romania (€8.5), and the highest in Denmark (€46.9), Luxembourg (€43.0) and Belgium (€41.6).
The two main components of labour costs are wages & salaries and non-wage costs (e.g. employers’ social contributions). The lowest shares of non-wage costs were recorded in Lithuania (3.7%), Romania (4.9%) and Ireland (8.7%) and the highest in Sweden (32.0%), France (31.9%) and Italy (28.3%).
Within the euro area, hourly labour costs increased in all Member States except Italy (-1.6%) and Spain (-0.3%). The largest increases were recorded in Lithuania (+12.5%), Estonia (+6.5%), Cyprus and Slovenia (+6.2% each) as well as Latvia (+6.1%).
For Member States outside the euro area, the hourly labour costs expressed in national currency increased in 2021 in all countries, with the largest increases recorded in Bulgaria (+9.1%), Poland (+8.2%) and Hungary (+7.3%). They increased least in Sweden and Croatia (+3.0% each).