Labour costs in the 1st quarter of 2017 up 2.5% on the 1st quarter of 2016

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MIL OSI – Source: Destatis Statistisches Bundesamt – In English –

Headline: Labour costs in the 1st quarter of 2017 up 2.5% on the 1st quarter of 2016

WIESBADEN – In Germany, labour costs per hour worked rose by 2.5% in the first quarter of 2017 on a calendar adjusted basis, compared with the first quarter of 2016. The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) also reports that, compared with the previous quarter, labour costs were up 0.5% in seasonally and calendar adjusted terms. Labour costs consist of gross earnings and non-wage costs. In calendar adjusted terms, the costs of gross earnings in the first quarter of 2017 rose by 1.9% on the first quarter of 2016, while non-wage costs were up 4.5%. This was mainly due to the number of staff on sick leave, which was markedly higher than a year earlier. 

For 2016, rates of labour cost change are available for all European Union (EU) Member States. According to those results, the price of one hour worked in Germany rose a calendar adjusted 2.5% compared with a year earlier. In the entire EU, the increase in labour costs averaged 1.6% in that period. Hence the rise recorded in Germany was above the EU average for the sixth year in a row. The highest growth rates within the EU were recorded in Romania (+13.1%), Bulgaria (+7.9%) and Lithuania (+7.5%). In Croatia (–6.3%) and Italy (–0.9%), labour costs declined. In France, the increase in labour costs (+1.5%) was considerably lower than in Germany. In Belgium, Malta (+0.2% each) and Spain (+0.3%) labour costs remained nearly unchanged. 

The rates of labour cost change in countries outside the euro area are measured in the relevant national currency and, consequently, are not currency adjusted. 

Methodological notes

The rates of labour cost change are based on the results of the labour cost index. The latter measures the change in labour costs and additionally provides a breakdown of labour costs into their two components, namely gross earnings and non-wage costs. In all three indices, the costs borne by employers are compared with the hours actually worked by employees.

Revisions in the data sources used for calculating the labour cost index led to adjustments of the growth rates of the labour cost index for three quarters of the reference year 2016. For instance, the calendar adjusted year-on-year rate of increase in the labour cost index changed from +3.0% to +2.9% for the fourth quarter of 2016.
Labour cost indices for industry and the service sector in Germany Year, quarter Index of labourcosts, totalIndex of grossearningsIndex ofnon-wage costs 1 Calendar-adjusted, Census X-12-ARIMA 2 Calendar and seasonally adjusted, Census X-12-ARIMAChange on the previous year in % 120082.63.10.820092.72.53.520101.30.73.320112.72.82.620123.03.32.020131.61.61.820142.01.92.220152.82.82.620162.52.33.4Change on the same quarter a year earlier in % 120151st quarter2.82.63.22nd quarter2.93.31.23rd quarter2.52.72.14th quarter2.82.54.020161st quarter3.03.03.02nd quarter2.01.34.63rd quarter2.22.22.54th quarter2.92.83.320171st quarter2.51.94.5Change on the previous quarter in % 220151st quarter0.80.71.02nd quarter0.91.1–0.13rd quarter0.40.11.44th quarter0.80.61.620161st quarter0.91.10.32nd quarter0.0–0.41.33rd quarter0.50.9–0.64th quarter1.51.22.220171st quarter0.50.21.6
EU-wide comparison of labour costsChange in industry and the service sectorStatus of calculations: 4th quarter of 2016Index of labour costs, totalIndex of labourcosts, totalIndex of grossearningsIndex ofnon-wage costsChange in 2016 on 20151  in % 1 Calendar adjusted applying national methods.

Source: Eurostat Online Database of 6 June 2017 and calculations by Destatis based on the Eurostat Online Database.
European Union 1.61.71.5Euro currency area 1.41.41.4Belgium0.20.5–0.9Bulgaria7.97.97.7Denmark1.91.82.3Germany2.52.33.4Estonia5.55.55.6Finland0.70.30.3France1.51.51.6Greece1.10.81.7Ireland1.01.00.9Italy–0.9–0.4–2.1Croatia–6.3–6.5–5.7Latvia6.96.48.5Lithuania7.57.57.6Luxembourg0.70.8–0.3Malta0.20.20.6Netherlands1.51.70.7Austria0.80.61.4Poland4.14.14.0Portugal1.61.80.9Romania13.113.113.0Sweden2.92.14.6Slovakia3.73.63.9Slovenia3.02.65.5Spain0.30.6–0.5Czech Republic3.23.13.2Hungary4.95.43.3United Kingdom1.51.70.5Cyprus0.60.60.5Detailed data and time series relating to the labour cost indices by branches of economic activity can be called up free of charge via table 62421-0001 in the GENESIS-Online database.

Data for European comparisons are available under Europe in Figures.

For further information:Annette Beyer,tel: +49 (0) 611 / 75 35 62, contact form
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