Bulgaria had the lowest hourly labour costs in the European Union in 2022, EU statistics agency Eurostat said on March 30.
The average hourly labour costs mask significant gaps between EU countries, with the lowest hourly labour costs recorded in Bulgaria (8.2 euro) and Romania (9.5 euro), and the highest in Luxembourg (50.7 euro), Denmark (46.8 euro) and Belgium (43.5 euro), Eurostat said.
Hourly labour costs in industry were 30.7 euro in the EU and 36.6 euro in the euro area.
In construction, they were 27.3 and 30.8 euro, respectively. In services, hourly labour costs were 30.2 euro in the EU and 33.3 euro in the euro area. In the mainly non-business economy (excluding public administration), they were 31.3 and 34.8 euro, respectively.
The two main components of labour costs are wages and salaries and non-wage costs (eg employers’ social contributions), Eurostat said. The share of non-wage costs in total labour costs for the whole economy was 24.8 per cent in the EU and 25.5 per cent in the euro area.
The lowest shares of non-wage costs were recorded in Lithuania (5.4 per cent) and Romania (5.3 per cent) and the highest in France (32 per cent), Sweden (31.9 per cent) and Italy (27.8 per cent)
Within the euro area, hourly labour costs increased in all EU countries. The largest increases were recorded in Lithuania (13.3 per cent), Ireland (9.3 per cent) and Estonia (9.1 per cent).
For EU countries outside the euro area, the hourly labour costs expressed in national currency increased in 2022 in all countries, with the largest increases recorded in Bulgaria (15.3 per cent), Hungary (13.9 per cent), Romania (12.2 per cent) and Poland (11.7 per cent). They increased the least in Denmark (2.3 per cent), Eurostat said.