In 2019, average hourly labour costs in the whole economy (excluding agriculture and public administration) were estimated to be €27.7 in the European Union of 27 Member States (EU) and €31.4 in the euro area. However, the average masks significant gaps between EU Member States, with the lowest hourly labour costs recorded in Bulgaria (€6.0), Romania (€7.7), Lithuania (€9.4), Hungary and Latvia (both €9.9), and the highest in Denmark (€44.7), Luxembourg (€41.6), Belgium (€40.5), France (€36.6), the Netherlands (€36.4), Sweden (€36.3), Germany (€35.6) and Austria (€34.7).
Hourly labour costs in industry were €28.1 in the EU and €34.1 in the euro area. In construction, they were €24.8 and €28.0, respectively. In services, hourly labour costs were €27.5 in the EU and €30.4 in the euro area. In the mainly non-business economy (excluding public administration), they were €28.4 and €31.8, respectively, Eurostat data showed.
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 25.1% in the EU and 25.6% in the euro area. It ranged from 5.3% in Lithuania to 32.9% 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 2016, which are extrapolated through the Labour Cost Index.
Hourly labour costs increased most in Romania, least in Malta
In 2019, compared with previous year, hourly labour costs in the whole economy expressed in € rose by 2.9% in the EU and by 2.5% in the euro area.
Within the euro area, the largest increases were recorded in Slovakia (+7.8%), Estonia (+7.7%), and Latvia (+7.4%). Hourly labour costs increased least in Malta (+1.0%) and Finland (+1.4%).
When comparing labour cost estimates over time, levels expressed in national currency should be used to eliminate the influence of exchange rate movements. For Member States outside the euro area in 2019, the largest increases in hourly labour costs in the whole economy, expressed in national currency, were observed in Romania (+13.1%) and Bulgaria (+11.7%). They increased least in Denmark (+1.9%) and Sweden (+2.2%).