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Press release 087 / 2014-03-11: Labour costs up 2.4% in 2013

Labour costs per hour workedEnlarge picture WIESBADEN – In Germany, labour costs per hour worked rose by 2.4% in 2013 on a calendar adjusted basis, compared with a year earlier. The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) also reports that the costs of gross earnings increased by 2.5%, while non-wage costs were up by 2.1%. 

Compared with the 4th quarter 2012, labour costs in the 4th quarter of 2013 rose by 2.0% in calendar adjusted terms. Compared with the previous quarter, the seasonally and calendar adjusted increase was 0.9%. 

For the third quarter of 2013, rates of labour cost change in industry and the service sector are available for 26 of the 28 European Union Member States. According to those results, the price of one hour worked in Germany rose by a calendar adjusted 1.9% in the third quarter of 2013 from the third quarter 2012. In the entire European Union (EU), the increase in labour costs averaged 1.0% in the third quarter of 2013. The highest growth rates within the EU were recorded in Estonia (+8.1%), Lithuania (+6.2%), Latvia (+5.9%) and Romania (+4.2%). Labour costs declined in Cyprus (–7.6%), the Czech Republic (–2.5%), Ireland (–1.6%) and Slovenia (–0.6%). In France, the rate of change of the total labour costs per hour worked (+0.4%) was markedly lower than the relevant rate in Germany. The reason was the 2.4% decrease in non-wage costs. In Spain (+0.5%) and Portugal (+0.3%), the increase in labour costs was below average. Data for Greece were not available. 

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 change of labour costs 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.

National accounts are the main source of data for the time series of the labour cost index for the reference years 2012 and 2013. The regular revisions of national accounts have led to adjustments of the growth rates of the labour cost index. Hence, the calendar adjusted rate of increase in the labour cost index has changed from +1.6% to +1.9% for the third quarter 2013 compared with the same quarterof the previous year.  

Labour cost indices
Industry and service branches
in Germany 
Year, quarterIndex of labour costs,
Index of gross
Index of
non-wage costs
1 Calendar-adjusted, Census X-12-ARIMA.
2 Calendar and seasonally adjusted, Census X-12-ARIMA.
Change on the previous year in % 1
Change on the same quarter a year earlier in % 1
20111st quarter2.01.63.6
2nd quarter3.43.33.5
3rd quarter2.72.92.1
4th quarter3.13.32.5
20121st quarter2.22.61.1
2nd quarter3.23.71.2
3rd quarter3.03.31.9
4th quarter3.13.51.4
20131st quarter4.23.95.4
2nd quarter1.82.10.9
3rd quarter1.92.11.0
4th quarter2.02.21.3
Change on the previous quarter in % 2
20111st quarter1.61.61.4
2nd quarter1.01.01.0
3rd quarter–0.10.1–0.6
4th quarter0.70.71.0
20121st quarter0.50.8–0.6
2nd quarter1.81.91.4
3rd quarter0.0–0.00.3
4th quarter0.80.90.5
20131st quarter1.51.12.9
2nd quarter–0.60.0–2.7
3rd quarter0.20.10.4
4th quarter0.91.00.7


EU comparison of labour costs
Change in industry and service branches
3rd quarter of 2013
Member States of the European UnionIndex of labour costs,
Index of gross
Index of non-wage
Change on the same quarter a year earlier 1
in %
1 Calendar adjusted applying national methods.
2 Data for Greece were not available. The data for Austria are confidential.
Source: Calculations by the Federal Statistical Office based on Eurostat’s online database of 4 March 2014.
European Union 21.01,20,3
Euro currency area 21.01,30,4
Czech Republic–2.5–1,6–1,6
United Kingdom0.40,5–0,5
Cyprus–7.6– 7,7–6,7

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 table 62421-0001 in the GENESIS-Online database.

Data for European comparisons are provided by the European Data Service (EDS).

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