Sunday , May 26 2024
Home / News / Economy / Hourly labour cost: €3.7 for the poor €39 for the rich EU member states

Hourly labour cost: €3.7 for the poor €39 for the rich EU member states

Hourly labor cost in Greece decreased by -11.2% while in all other member counties of the EU and the eurozone, including bailout-hit Portugal and Ireland increased. This conclusion comes from the data collected and released by the Eurostat on April 10, 2013 for the years 2008-2012.

Odd enough, hourly labor cost for Greece is not recorded in the graph but just its decrease.

With the minimum wage to have gone down to 580 euro gross – and 510 euro for those below 25 years old – in 2012, I can assure you, that the hourly labor cost is less than 3 euro. Not to mention the many employees who work without insurance, decreasing the hourly labour cost even more.

Also worth mentioning is that while salaries decreased, taxes disproportionally increased in the laboratory of the IMF and EU that are keen to turn Greece into a so-called “competitive country”. Three years after the first loan agreement, no serious investment, no serious privatization and no serious growth and development plans have been seen around.

Eurostat report

In 2012, average hourly labour costs in the whole economy(excluding agriculture and public administration) were estimated to be €23.4 in the EU27and €28.0 in the euro area.

However, this average masks significant differences between EU Member States, with hourly labour costs ranging from €3.7 in Bulgaria, €4.4 in Romania €5.8 in Lithuania and €6.0 in Latvia, to €39.0 in Sweden, €38.1 in Denmark, €37.2 in Belgium, €34.6 in Luxembourg and €34.2 in France.

When comparing labour cost estimates in euro over time, it should be noted that data for those Member States outside the euro area are influenced by exchange rate movements.

Wthin the business economy, labour costs per hour were highest in industry (€24.2 in the EU27 and €30.3 in the euro area), followed by services (€23.7 and €27.6 respectively) and construction (€21.0 and €24.3). In the mainly non-business economy (excluding public administration), labour costs per hour were €22.9 in the EU27 and €27.2 in the euro area.

Labour costs are made up of wages & salaries and non-wage costs such as employers’ social contributions. The hare of non-wage costs in the whole economy was 23.7% in the EU27 and 26.1% in the euro area, varying between 8.2% in Malta and 33.6% in France.

Growth in labour costs

Beween 2008 and 2012, hourly labour costs in the whole economy expressed in euro have risen by 8.6% in the EU27 and by 8.7% in the euro area.

Within the euro area, the largest increases were recorded in Austria (+15.5%), Slovakia (+13.8%), Finland (+13.7%) and Belgium (+13.1%), and the smallest in Portugal (+0.4%) and Ireland (+0.8%). The only decrease was observed in Greece (-11.2%).

Full report in PDF here

PS Oh, Yes, unification of the several EU and EZ economies are urgently needed here 🙂


Check Also

Olive oil production higher – Prices gradually falling

Estimates about olive oil production in Greece are optimistic this year, although safer conclusions will …


  1. Just for the record, when the Troika conquered Ireland the hourly minimum wage was reduced from 8.95 to 7.95. The current government “re-instated” the minimum wage back to 8.95, but then introduced schemes like “jobs bridge” etc which allow employers to employ highly qualified people for 50 a week. German mini jobs are positiviely well paid jobs compared to this. People under the age of 23 had their unemployment benefit halved, lots of other benefits were reduced if not simply cancelled, etc. And of course, just like in Greece, while income is drastically reduced, the cost of living and earning a living remains high.
    A very recent incident involves the potential loss of 500 jobs because the owner of a building (The Irish State!) refuses to drop the ridiculous rent of 550k a year so that the business can keep on going. To make it totally ridiculous, it is ILLEGAL for an owner of a commercial building to reduce an agreed rent. It can (and does) only go upwards. Known in Ireland as the upward only rent review laws…

    • what the hell do expect from a country that allows a women to die when pregnant in a maternity hospital [she was told that what she suggested did not happen in a catholic country]

  2. The biggest loseres in Greece are those private sector workers who are over the age of 25 and married with children.


    Because the employer by the Greek employment laws must pay extra entitlements if he is over the age of 25 and is married and has children.

    So the employer says why not employ under persons under the age of 25 sho are single and who have no children.

    Greece is killing it self, because of greed, because of many unfair laws which seem good on the surface but are actually destructive in nature to the people of Greece.

    Because the people we have in government are not really Greek in hear heart and soul.

  3. To stop this discrimination and destruction of the Greek people the laws have to be changed to benefit the Greek people.

    Everyone over the age of 20 should have the same wage whether they are married or not or have children or not.

    Everyone should have an hourly minimum wage, according to their profession.

    For example.

    A hairdresser should have a minimum hourly wage of 8 Euro per hour.
    A building labourer a minimum hourly wage of 10 Euro per hour.
    An architect a minimum of 15 Euro per hour.
    A waiter a minimum of 8 Euro per hour.
    A travel consultant a minimum of 10 Euro per hour.

    Etc, etc.

    And on top of all this penalty rates for working evenings after 9pm, for working on Saturdays, for working on Sundays and public holidays.

    All workers should have a state sponsored medical coverage.

    All workers to have pension accounts paid by their employers or privately self pensioned. Plus a minimum state pension of 400 Euro per month.

    • I’ll ask the question again. Why should a building labourer earn more than a hairdresser, or less than an architect? Which ever criterium or combination of criteria you base this on, the difference will always be dicriminatory towards those at the lesser end of the scale. A day’s work is a day’s work, irrespective of what you do. As long as it is done to the best of your ability, then the pay should be the same. It is the classification of people through “pay by ability” that creates the inequality in the world. And who has the right to decide on the hairdresser being worth less per hour than the architect anyway?

      • But, in most countries why would a Doctor wish to spend all those years studying to earn what a day laborer earns? Sure, doctors wish to help people but certainly deserve to earn more. Airline pilots etc too should earn more. Anyone in lifesaving, or truly important jobs should.

        What you describe sounds like North Korea and Cuba.

        Just curious Ephilant? Are you a communist because your views seem to me to be like that. I may be wrong, but just asking.

        • Many years ago, in the 80’s, I was working in the Northern Persian Gulf (Khargh Island to be exact), and the war between Iraq and Iran broke out. We were caught, piggy in the middle. The company I worked for eventually decided that they would take out extra insurance for the crew members, just in case. The officers on board were European, the deck crew was a mix of Philipino and Cape Verdian. When the insurance policies came through, the company had valued the life of a European crew member at something like 12 million USD. The life of the Philipino and Cape Verdian Crew members was valued at 25 thousand USD. Same war, same ship, same danger, everybody had/has families, in fact, most of the deck crew had much bigger families than the Europeans had. Why is one life valued nearly 500 times higher than the other? What is the unbiased yardstick on which such a decision is based?
          No, I’m not a communist in the way you obviously see communism as something undesirable if not evil. I do however not understand why somebody with one skill set can turn arouond and declare him/herself worth more than somebody with a completely different skills set. What is the measure? Stick with the architect and the labourer. Indeed the labourer does probably not have the skill to design the house. But then, the architect would more than likely not have the skill to make the mortar, leave alone build a straight wall day after day and keep them standing. It’s comparing apples with pears. The only logical conclusion is that if you want a house, you need both of them, and both need to be very good at their job. So where is the difference? Training? Apart from it being their choice, who says the 4 years in university is worth more than the years of practical experience gained on building sites? What basis is there for that difference? Again, comparing apples with pears and deciding the one is worth more than the other. The reality of this system is that people are reduced to the size of their pay packet, and the person who does the day work and earns the pay packet is totally ignored, so we end up with social division. Social division as a result of financial status is obviously fully acceptable, while the same social divisions as a result of racial status, gender status, religious status are deemed unacceptable?

          • keeptalkinggreece

            you started comparing apples and pears. sorry. and university studies are more worthy because you simply invest more money and effort in it. We should not start comparing studies of a hairdresser and a surgeon…
            and to tell you the truth, I do not I understand what’s the practical point in the whole debate.

            But no worries: whether with university studies or not, with the new minimum wage law, a jobless architect can get a 3euro-per-hour job in a supermarket, just to put product son the shelves. No special skills needed except reading labels, count up to 5 and press the elevator button.
            BTW: who says what builders build straight walls and stair steps?

          • Which is the whole point. Once again people are reduced to a financial value. You are not your minimum wage, and your minimum wage is not an expression of your value. It is, at best, an expression of how little those willing to pay your this think of you. How much do you earn is not important. Who you are is the whole point. And irrespective of who we are, we all have the god-given right to a decent life. Nobody should work for 3 an hour, and nobody should have a bankaccount with 550 million in it either.If we simply forgot about trying to earn more and made a little more of an effort to live more, this would be a much better place to be.
            You should really do yourself a favour and get 2 books. 1 is called “The Spirit Level, Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better”. If we managed to get away from the “let’s earn more and have a fatter bank account than the neighbour” syndrome and worked together instead, this research shows that we could all earn 75k a year, labourer and architect alike. Anything wrong with that?
            The other is called “Small is Beautiful, Economics as if People Matter”.
            Between the two titles, there is a very feasible, do-able blueprint for that better society we all want, especially now.

          • keeptalkinggreece

            there cannot be a better society.

          • As Albert Einstein so rightfully said:

            when things go wrong, don’t try to fix them using the same rules and methods that caused them to go wrong

            It is high time people start looking outside the box. Stay in the box, and you are right. Simply because it is the box itself that prevents change from happening. Look outside the box and anything is possible. Current policies, rules and regulations are an attempt to create “certainty” for the few and result in impoverishing the many. Certainty does not exist, and it is futile to try and achieve it. Uncertainty and confusion are not something to be afraid of. It is in that space of uncertainty that creativity lives, the creativity that has the ability to create a better society. Step outside the comfort zone and life becomes extremely fascinating and interesting, without guarantees. Stay inside the box and the one thing your guaranteed is that it will indeed not change or get better.

          • Ephilant, I think you are playing “strawman” here. All I’m saying is that some jobs are more valuable. All these other jobs are great, construction worker etc. But, if I choose to want to do a white-collar job and get paid for it more, what incentive would I have to do that if I got paid the same as the construction worker? I might as well just skip the education, hit the beach and build houses then if we all get the same money.

            In fact, I’d rather be a greeter at a department store, and say Hello to all the pretty ladies all day, since again, we’d all make the same money!! Hell, I’d never have to have any responsibility.

            If this 1984 world ever happens and you are in charge, please let me work with all the pretty ladies at the fashion show and be their assistants. Again, the same money etc.

            But then, I thought, maybe the value of the jobs would be based on something else, nepotism, who my friends were, and in the end wouldn’t that be more discrimination??

            We can’t win!

          • No I’m not playing strawman, far from it. I am pointing out that
            1) the system is broke, as we all know, and it is pointless trying to fix it using the same methods that broke it in the first place. That includes the method of maintaining monetary value as the yardstick by which we work. Money is a unit of measure, with which we indicate a value. Money itself, the blue bit of paper that says 20 on it, is worthless, has no value, unless it is backed up by something tangeable like a house, or a car. The scam of money having a value which can be expressed in money itself is exactly that, a scam. A gigantic, devastatingly destructive con-job causing untold damage and hardship to millions of people. If somebody tells you they invented the “perpeteum mobile”, you would not believe them, because you know it to be impossible. However, dressed up as “the financial system”, you readily accept the perpeteum mobile of “Money”??? IT really is true, the emperor has indeed no clothes….

            2) I also point out the madness of the whole thing. Not only do we use money as a means of measuring value. We go even further. We start expressing concepts in monetary value as well. In order to improve our social status we express our worth in potential value (equity), and based on this, which is at best an elaborate guess, we then award ourselves the right to raise our financial and therefore social status. The madness gets totally out of hand when we magically turn this potential value into “money”. We have effectively valued somebody’s guess as being worth whatever. Where it gets really crazy is that the “released non-existing value” is now allowed to be used and created more non-existing potential value (derivatives), which we happily convert into coloured bits of paper, call it “money” which we then use to create more non-existing potential wealth,… Get the picture?
            “A beautiful Mind” in full swing…

            3) I point out the hypocracy of the whole thing. It is obviously acceptable to create social division and hardship based on how much money you own. If fact, we insist that society can only function if people too are measured in monetary value, and we maintain that social division (and all the shit going with it) by measuring completely different skill sets with the same measure. You wouldn’t dream measureing distance in units of weight, or temperature in units of lenght. They are different things, and we use different measures for them. But when it comes to “measuring” completely different people, with totally unique skills and human situations, we insist on using the very same measure of value and end up valueing a person in terms of how much they are worth. We have effectively turned this unique individual into an object, and people are being put into their assigned little boxes. Pensioners are worth so much, single mothers are worth so much, unemployed are worth so much, longer unemployed are worth nothing, and the madness goes on and on…
            Yet, if anybody dares turn around and says; I, or my group of people, are worth more than you or your group of people because of our skin colour, or our religion, or our gender, or our age, we all start jumping up and down shouting “discrimination”. What makes one kind of discrimination acceptable to you, while the others aren’t? Where is the difference?

      • keeptalkinggreece

        different skills are needed to perform a day-work and another day-work. a contractor worker needs one year(?) to complete his studies and an architect several years. and Yes, I would pay the architect more and having him build my home in full standards of safety/geometry/physics/and whatever else needed, than to have a construction worker do it for less.

  4. Anne-Marie Bergdol

    From Anne- Marie

    Thank you for your very interesting newsletter. I’ m Swiss and I live in Lausanne . I know Greece for many years and have friends in Greece , so I can discuss the events with them . I’ m impressed, when I see around me , in Switzerland, how many wrong stereotyped ideas are existing about the situation in Greece. So I try to inform my friends and relatives in a more realistic way , and to this purpose, I find informations in your newsletter, too.
    Now, I have a question about the article “Hourly labour cost ” ( 10 Apr 2013) .You write that for the minimum wage the hourly labour cost is less than 3 €. My question is as follow : of course , people earn less than the minimum wage, and others earn more. Is it known , how many people earn the minimum wage or less , approximate ?
    Thank you very much, and please, excuse me for my bad english !

  5. Anne-Marie Bergdol

    Yesterday I sent you a question that was partly naive. Of course no statistics about people who earn less than the minimum wage exist, because it’ s illegal. But where could I find informations about people earning the minimum wage ? Thank you very much.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      what do you mean “But where could I find informations about people earning the minimum wage ?” ? what kind of information?

  6. Anne-Marie Bergdol

    My question was : how many persons earn the minimum wage in Greece? Do statistics or evaluations exist now ? It’s very kind of you to try to answer to my question, and I thank you.