Labour costs up 2.3% in 2018

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Source: Destatis Statistisches Bundesamt – In EnglishLabour costs per hour worked, 2018+2.3% on a year earlier (calendar adjusted)Labour costs per hour worked, 4th quarter of 2018-0.1% on the previous quarter (seasonally and calendar adjusted)+2.0% on the same quarter a year earlier (calendar adjusted)
Enlarge picture WIESBADEN – In Germany, labour costs per hour worked rose a calendar adjusted 2.3% in 2018 compared with a year earlier. The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) also reports that the costs of gross earnings increased by 2.4%, while non-wage costs were up 2.0%.
Compared with the fourth quarter of 2017, labour costs in the fourth quarter of 2018 rose by 2.0% in calendar adjusted terms. Labour costs were down by 0.1% from the previous quarter after seasonal and calendar adjustment. This was the first decrease of labour costs since the second quarter of 2016. It was due to the relatively small number of staff on sick leave in the fourth quarter of 2018, which increased the number of hours worked. As a consequence, non-wage costs were down by as much as 1.6% from the fourth quarter of 2017 after seasonal and calendar adjustment, while the costs of gross earnings rose by 0.3%.
Average increase in labour costs across the EU: +2.8%The international comparison with other Member States of the European Union (EU) is based on industry and the support services sector. Among other things, the public service and the health sector are not included here. For the third quarter of 2018, rates of labour cost change are available for all EU Member States. According to those results, the price of one hour worked in Germany rose a calendar adjusted 2.4% on the same quarter of the previous year. In the entire EU, the increase in labour costs averaged +2.8% over that period, which is higher than the rate recorded for Germany. The highest growth rates within the EU were observed in Latvia (+13.9%), Romania (+10.4%) and Lithuania (+10.3%). In these countries the labour cost level is below 10 euros. The EU average in 2017 was 26.30 euros. Germany ranked sixth, with labour costs per hour worked amounting to 34.20 euros. The lowest increase in labour costs was recorded in Malta (+0.9%) and Slovenia (+1.1%). In our neighbouring country France, the increase in labour costs (+3.1%) was higher than in Germany.
Labour cost indices for industry and the service sector in Germany 
Year, quarter 
Index of labourcosts, total
Index of grossearnings
Index ofnon-wage costs
1 Calendar-adjusted, Census X-12-ARIMA2 Calendar and seasonally adjusted, Census X-12-ARIMA
Change on the previous year in % 1
2010
1.3
0.7
3.3
2011
2.7
2.8
2.6
2012
3.0
3.3
2.0
2013
0.8
1.4
-0.9
2014
2.5
2.2
3.5
2015
2.9
2.7
3.3
2016
2.3
2.2
2.5
2017
2.7
2.5
3.5
2018
2.3
2.4
2.0
Change on the same quarter a year earlier in % 1
2016
1st quarter
2.9
3.1
2.3
2nd quarter
1.5
0.9
3.4
3rd quarter
2.1
2.3
1.7
4th quarter
2.7
2.8
2.6
2017
1st quarter
3.0
2.1
6.2
2nd quarter
3.1
3.4
2.3
3rd quarter
2.9
2.5
4.2
4th quarter
2.0
2.0
1.7
2018
1st quarter
2.4
2.2
3.1
2nd quarter
2.1
2.2
2.0
3rd quarter
2.6
2.7
2.4
4th quarter
2.0
2.4
0.7
Change on the previous quarter in % 2
2016
1st quarter
0.6
1.3
-1.9
2nd quarter
-0.1
-0.9
2.9
3rd quarter
0.9
1.4
-0.6
4th quarter
1.3
1.0
2.3
2017
1st quarter
0.7
0.5
1.1
2nd quarter
0.3
0.5
-0.3
3rd quarter
0.6
0.5
1.1
4th quarter
0.4
0.5
0.0
2018
1st quarter
0.9
0.6
2.0
2nd quarter
0.3
0.6
-0.9
3rd quarter
1.0
0.9
1.3
4th quarter
-0.1
0.3
-1.6
EU-wide comparison of labour costs in business economyStatus of calculations: 3rd quarter of 2018
Index of labour costs, total
Change in the 3rd quarter of 2018 on the 3rd quarter of 2017 1
Year 2017 2
Index of labour costs,total
Index of grossearnings
Index ofnon-wage costs
Labour costs perhour worked
in % 3
EUR
1 Source: Eurostat Online Database of 6 March 2019 and calculations by Destatis.2 Source: Eurostat Online Database of 30 April 2018 and calculations by Destatis.3 Calendar adjusted applying national methods./ = No figure due to limited reliability
European Union
2.8
2.8
2.7
26.30
Euro currency area
2.7
2.5
3.3
30.60
Belgium
1.4
1.9
0.0
41.70
Bulgaria
7.9
7.7
8.9
4.90
Denmark
2.1
2.3
1.3
43.60
Germany
2.4
2.6
1.9
34.20
Estonia
5.5
5.5
5.7
12.20
Finland
1.3
1.9
-1.5
33.40
France
3.1
2.3
5.0
36.80
Greece
1.6
1.2
3.1
14.30
Ireland
2.4
3.0
-1.2
29.80
Italy
2.3
1.5
4.6
27.30
Croatia
8.1
8.2
7.5
9.20
Latvia
13.9
12.7
19.2
8.50
Lithuania
10.3
9.6
12.1
8.20
Luxembourg
1.8
1.9
1.1
37.30
Malta
0.9
0.9
0.2
12.80
Netherlands
2.1
1.8
3.3
34.10
Austria
3.4
3.2
4.1
33.70
Poland
6.9
6.9
6.9
9.00
Portugal
1.7
1.6
1.9
13.40
Romania
10.4
/
/
6.10
Sweden
1.3
1.5
0.8
41.70
Slovakia
6.9
6.6
8.1
11.40
Slovenia
1.1
1.4
-1.0
16.90
Spain
3.2
3.4
2.7
21.30
Czech Republic
7.3
7.3
7.3
11.30
Hungary
8.9
11.3
-1.9
9.20
United Kingdom
2.1
1.9
3.6
26.80
Cyprus
2.9
2.9
2.9
15.90
Methodological notesThe rates of labour cost change in countries outside the euro area are measured in the relevant national currency and, consequently, are not currency adjustedThe 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 instance, the calendar adjusted year-on-year rate of increase of the labour cost index was revised downwards from +2.7% to +2.6% for the third quarter of 2018..
Detailed 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:Labour cost index,tel: +49 (0) 611 / 75 26 89,contact form

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