The Sofia Echo
Among the European Union member states for which data are available for the first quarter of 2009, the highest annual increases in hourly labour costs were in Bulgaria and Romania, both 18.6 per cent, Eurostat said on June 16 2009.
Annual decreases in hourly labour costs were observed in the United Kingdom3 (-5.5 per cent), Greece (-3.3 per cent) and France (-0.6 per cent).
Total hourly labour costs in the euro area rose by 3.7 per cent in nominal terms in the year up to the first quarter of 2009, compared with four per cent for the previous quarter.
In the EU27, the annual rise was 1.5 per cent up to the first quarter of 2009, compared with 4.5 per cent for the previous quarter.
The two main components of labour costs are wages and salaries and non-wage costs.
In the euro area, wages and salaries grew by 3.6 per cent in the year up to the first quarter of 2009, and non-wage costs by 4.5 per cent, compared with 3.9 per cent and 4.4 per cent respectively for the fourth quarter of 2008.
In the EU27, wages & salaries rose by 1.1 per cent and the non-wage component by 3.1 per cent. For the previous quarter the corresponding rates were 4.5 per cent and 4.6 per cent.
Eurostat said that the breakdown by economic activity shows that in the euro area hourly labour costs rose at an annual rate of 6.1 per cent in industry, 3.6 per cent in construction and 2.4 per cent in services up to the first quarter of 2009.
In the EU27, labour costs grew by 5.2 per cent in industry and 2.8 per cent in construction, but fell by 0.5 per cent in services.