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Press release 116 / 2013-03-26: Labour costs in Germany by 32% higher than the EU average in 2012

WIESBADEN – Employers of the German private sector paid an average 31.00 euros per hour worked in 2012. The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) also reports that the labour cost level in Germany thus ranked eighth in the EU. Employers of the German private sector paid 32% more per hour worked than the EU average, but 11% less than, for example, our neighbour country France. Sweden recorded the highest labour costs per hour worked with 41.90 euros and Bulgaria the lowest with 3.70 euros.

As regards manufacturing, which is particularly subject to international competition, the price of one hour worked in Germany amounted to an average 35.20 euros in 2012. Here, Germany ranked fifth among the EU countries. The price of one hour worked in German industry was by 47% higher than on an EU average, but 3% lower than in France.

In each year of the period from 2001 to 2010, the labour cost growth in the German private sector was below the EU average. In 2011 and 2012, this long-term trend reversed. The increase in labour costs in Germany was larger than in the EU. This is also shown by a comparison with France. From 2001 to 2010, the labour cost growth in France (just under +35%) was more than twice that in Germany (+16%). In 2011 and 2012, the increase in Germany (+5.9%) was slightly higher than in France (+5.4%).

Labour costs are composed of gross earnings and non-wage costs. In 2012, employers in the German private sector paid an additional 27 euros of non-wage costs per 100 euros of gross earnings. This means that non-wage costs in Germany were below the EU average of 32 euros. Among the EU countries, Germany ranked in the middle (16th). The highest non-wage costs per 100 euros of wage were paid in Sweden (51 euros) and France (50 euros), the lowest in Malta (10 euros). The main component of non-wage costs is the employers’ social contributions, that is, especially the employers’ statutory social security contributions, expenditure on employee pension schemes and expenditure on continued pay in case of sickness.

Time series on labour costs in Germany in a breakdown by economic branch are available in the GENESIS-Online database under the search word “Jahresschätzung Arbeitskosten”.
Further official EU statistics are provided by the European Data Service (EDS).

Labour costs per hour worked in 2012, in euros
Status of calculations: 4th quarter of 2012
European Union Member States
(in a descending order by the labour cost level in the private sector)
Private sectorManufacturing
EURChange on 2011
in %2
EURRank

1Values have been estimated on the basis of the first three quarters of 2012.

2 The rates of change are calendar adjusted and have been calculated in the relevant national currency.

Source: own calculations on the basis of Eurostat data of 20 March 2013

European Union (EU 27)23.502.124.00
Euro currency area28.202.030.10
Sweden41.903.543.801
Belgium40.402.941.902
Denmark39.501.537.903
France34.901.936.304
Luxembourg34.402.230.109
Netherlands31.300.733.707
Finland31.104.133.806
Germany31.002.835.205
Austria30.504.432.308
Ireland27.401.928.9010
Italy27.201.726.9011
United Kingdom21.901.822.7012
Spain20.901.122.5013
Cyprus16.701.213.4016
Greece115.50– 6.814.7014
Slovenia14.500.614.1015
Portugal112.302.710.5018
Malta12.001.012.0017
Czech Republic10.702.810.2019
Slovakia8.602.18.5020
Estonia8.606.48.1021
Hungary7.905.97.7022
Poland7.203.16.6023
Latvia6.204.05.6024
Lithuania5.804.95.5025
Romania4.506.23.8026
Bulgaria3.706.42.9027

Non-wage costs in relation to gross earnings
in the private sector in 2012

European Union Member States

Employers paid an additional
x euros of non-wage costs
per 100 euros of gross earnings
EUR

1Values for 2012 have been estimated on the basis of the first three quarters of 2012.

Source: own calculations on the basis of Eurostat data of 20 March 2013

European Union (EU 27)32
Euro currency area36
Sweden51
France50
Belgium47
Lithuania41
Italy40
Czech Republic37
Estonia37
Spain37
Austria37
Slovakia36
Hungary35
Netherlands30
Romania30
Greece291
Finland28
Germany27
Latvia26
Portugal261
Cyprus21
Poland20
Bulgaria18
Ireland18
United Kingdom17
Slovenia16
Luxembourg16
Denmark15
Malta10

For further information please call:
Ralf Droßard,
tel: +49 611 75 4236,
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