This week Eurostat published the provisional data for first quarter 2007 wage costs.
The following table summarizes the main results:
(please click on table for better viewing)
The general position is summarised as follows:
Among the Member States for which data are available for the first quarter of 2007 the smallest annual increases in hourly labour costs were observed in Germany (0.1%), Malta (1.4%) and Belgium (2.0%). The highest annual rises were registered in Latvia (32.6%), Romania (25.0%), Lithuania (22.2%) and Estonia (21.1%). Annual growth in the wages & salaries component ranged from 0.1% in Germany to 32.7% in Latvia. The range for non-wage costs was from 0.0% in Germany to 33.8% in Latvia.
Perhaps the last sentence is the most interesting, in that wage costs at a rate of 32.7% in Latvia, and at only 0.1% in Germany. This latter figure is very surprising, especially in the light of all the speculation that the 3% VAT increase might be pushed through into higher wages. Something is evidently afoot in the German labour market and to this I shall return. Something different is obviously happening in Latvia, and likewise I will try and find the time to post on this next week.
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