10 April 2013) – In 2012, average hourly labour costs were estimated to be €23.4 in the EU27 and €28.0 in the euro area. However, this average masks significant differences between EU Member States.
Hourly labour costs in the whole economy (excluding agriculture and public administration) range from €3.7 in Bulgaria, €4.4 in Romania, €5.8 in Lithuania and €6.0 in Latvia, to €39.0 in Sweden, €38.1 in Denmark, €37.2 in Belgium, €34.6 in Luxembourg and €34.2 in France.
Within the business economy, labour costs per hour were highest in industry (€24.2 in the EU27 and €30.3 in the euro area), followed by services (€23.7 and €27.6 respectively) and construction (€21.0 and €24.3). In the mainly non-business economy (excluding public administration), they were €22.9 in the EU27 and €27.2 in the euro area.
Between 2008 and 2012, hourly labour costs have risen by 8.6% in the EU27 and by 8.7% in the euro area. Within the euro area, the largest increases were recorded in Austria (+15.5%), Slovakia (+13.8%), Finland (+13.7%) and Belgium (+13.1%), and the smallest in Portugal (+0.4%) and Ireland (+0.8%). The only decrease was observed in Greece (-11.2%).
For Member States outside the euro area, the largest increases were registered in Bulgaria (+42.6%) and Romania (+26.7%), and the smallest in Latvia (+1.3%) and the United Kingdom (+5.2%). The only decrease was observed in Lithuania (-1.4%).