The average hourly labour costs were estimated to be €23.1 in the EU271 business economy2 in 2011, and €27.6 in the euro area1 (EA17). However, this average masks significant differences between Member States, with hourly labour costs ranging from €3.5 to €39.3. Labour costs are made up of costs for wages & salaries, plus non-wage costs such as employer’s social contributions.
In 2011, the highest hourly labour costs were estimated for Belgium (€39.3), Sweden (€39.1), Denmark (€38.6), France (€34.2), Luxembourg (€33.7), the Netherlands (€31.1) and Germany (€30.1). The lowest hourly labour costs were estimated for Bulgaria (€3.5), Romania (€4.2 in 20103), Lithuania (€5.5) and Latvia (€5.9). While comparing labour cost estimates in euro over time, it should be noted that data for those Member States outside the euro area are influenced by exchange rate movements.
These preliminary estimates for 2011, published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, cover enterprises with more than 10 employees and are based on the 2008 Labour Cost Survey and the Labour Cost Index.