In 2018, average hourly labour costs in the whole economy (excluding agriculture and public administration) were estimated to be €27.4 in the European Union (EU), €30.6 in the euro area, €16.3 in Cyprus (2.8% increase since 2017) and €16.1 in Greece (3.7% increase since 2017).
According to Eurostat, the lowest hourly labour costs were recorded in Bulgaria (€5.4), Romania (€6.9), Lithuania (€9.0), Hungary (€9.2) and Latvia (€9.3), and the highest in Denmark (€43.5), Luxembourg (€40.6), Belgium (€39.7), Sweden (€36.6), the Netherlands (€35.9) and France (€35.8).
Hourly labour costs in industry were €27.4 in the EU and €33.2 in the euro area. In services, they were €27.0 and €29.6, respectively. In construction, hourly labour costs were €25.0 in the EU and €27.6 in the euro area. In the mainly non-business economy (excluding public administration), they were €28.5 and €30.8, respectively. 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 23.7% in the EU and 25.6% in the euro area. It ranged from 6.1% in Malta to 32.6% in France.
In Cyprus labour costs were €14.4 in the business economy, €13.3 in the industry, €14.3 in construction, €14.6 in the services and 26.2 in the mainly non business economy excluding the public administration. The non wage part of the total reaches 17.3%.
In Greece labour costs were €16.1 in the business economy, €16.5 in the industry, €10.7 in construction, €16.3 in the services and €16.1 in the mainly non business economy. The non wage costs of the total wage reach 21.9%.
In 2018, compared with previous year, hourly labour costs in the whole economy expressed in € rose by 2.7% in the EU and by 2.2% in the euro area. Within the euro area, the largest increases were recorded in Latvia (+12.9%), Lithuania (+10.4%), Estonia and Slovakia (both +6.8%).
Hourly labour costs increased least in Malta (+0.4%), Finland (+1.2%), Spain (+1.3%) and Portugal (+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 2018, the largest increases in hourly labour costs in the whole economy, expressed in national currency, were observed in Romania (+13.3%) and Hungary (+9.8%). They increased least in Denmark (+1.9%), Sweden (+2.3%) and the United Kingdom (+3.3%).