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Welcome to Statistics Explained
Statistics Explained, your guide to European statistics.

Statistics Explained is an official Eurostat website presenting all statistical topics in an easily understandable way. Together, the articles make up everyone's encyclopedia of European statistics, completed by a statistical glossary clarifying all terms used and by numerous links to further information and the very latest data and metadata, a portal for occasional and regular users alike.

To find the information you need, use the hierarchical theme tree, the online publications, the categories or the search function (alt-f).

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Updated: People outside the labour market

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Inactivity rates 15-64 by sex, EU-28, 2002-2013 (%) new2.png
This article analyses labour market participation in the European Union (EU), broken down by sex and age, on the basis of the results of the EU Labour force survey (EU-LFS). In 2013, the number of inactive persons as a percentage of the working age population in the EU-28 reached a new low of 28.0 %, continuing the downward trend of the previous years. This positive development is largely due to the increased participation of women in the labour market. More ...

Updated: Inflation in the euro area

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Euro area annual inflation and its main components, 2002-2014-08-p.png
The data in this article show the most recent annual rates of change for the euro area headline inflation and its main components issued by Eurostat. The figures presented are actual HICP figures. More ...

Updated: Tourism statistics - winter season occupancy

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Net occupancy rates of bed-places in hotels and similar establishments in the peak month, winter season 2013-2014.png
This article analyses the tourism trends of the 2013-2014 winter season[1] in the European Union (EU) Member States, EFTA and candidate countries. In terms of nights spent at hotels and similar accommodation establishments, tourism recorded positive growth rates in most countries, compared with the same period in 2012-2013. More ...

Updated: The EU in the world - introduction

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EU-28 and G20 countries.png
This article is an introduction to the online version of Eurostat’s publication The EU in the world (also downloadable as a PDF). It provides a selection of statistics on the European Union (EU) — considered as a single entity — in comparison with the 15 non-EU countries from the Group of Twenty (G20). It aims to give an insight into the European economy, society and environment in comparison with the major economies from the rest of the world. More ...

Updated: Labour cost index - recent trends

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Total nominal hourly labour cost, 2014 Q2 (% change compared to previous quarter).png
The labour cost index (LCI) shows the short-term development of the labour cost, the total cost on an hourly basis of employing labour. In other words, the LCI measures the cost pressure arising from the production factor “labour”. This article takes a look at the most recent evolutions of the LCI, both at the level of the European Union (EU) and the Member States. More ...

New: Labour force survey statistics - transition from work to retirement

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Employed, retired and other not employed persons aged 50-69 (thousands of persons), EU-28, 2012 .png
This article presents selected results from the EU Labour force survey (LFS) and its 2012 ad hoc module on the transition from work to retirement for the European Union (EU) and all its Member States, as well as for three EFTA countries. The data explain the transition from work to retirement, looking at types of pensions, the age at which people start receiving a pension, early retirement, persons who continue working after starting to receive a pension and the reasons for this, etc. More ...

New: Resource productivity statistics

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Res Prod compared to GDP and DMC 2000-2012.png
This article presents recent statistics on resource productivity in the European Union (EU) and its Member States. The EU’s resource productivity has increased by 29.2 % in the 2000–12 timeframe. Whereas resource productivity has slowly increased over the years between 2000 and 2007, More ...

Updated: Job vacancy statistics

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Job Vacancy Rate by country 2014Q2.PNG
This article gives an overview of recent job vacancy statistics in the European Union (EU), notably the job vacancy rate (JVR). Job vacancy trends over the last decade are analysed in another article. The News Release with quarterly data on the job vacancy rate is available here. More ...

Today's Article


Wages and labour costs

Median gross hourly earnings, all employees (excluding apprentices), 2010 (1) YB14 II.png
This article compares and contrasts figures on wages and labour costs (employers’ expenditure on personnel) in the European Union (EU) Member States and in EU candidate and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries.

Labour plays a major role in the functioning of an economy. From the point of view of businesses, it represents a cost (labour costs) that includes not only the wages and salaries paid to employees but also non-wage costs, mainly social contributions payable by the employer. Thus, it is a key determinant of business competitiveness, although this is also influenced by the cost of capital (for example interests on loans and dividends on equity) and non-price elements such as innovation and the brand / products positioning on the market.

As far as employees are concerned, the compensation received for their work, more commonly called wages or earnings, generally represents their main source of income and therefore has a major impact on their ability to spend or save. Whereas gross wages / earnings include the social contributions payable by the employee, net earnings are calculated after deduction of these contributions and any amounts which are due to government, such as income taxes. As the amount of taxes generally depends on the situation of the household in terms of income and composition, net earnings are calculated for several typical household situations.

The diagram above summarises the relation between net earnings, gross earnings / wages and labour costs.

Main statistical findings

Labour costs

The average hourly labour cost in the EU-28 was estimated at EUR 23.70 in 2013 and at EUR 28.20 in the euro area (EA-18). However, this average masks significant differences between EU Member States, with hourly labour costs ranging between EUR 3.70 and EUR 40.10 (Figure 1).

Labour costs are made up of costs for wages and salaries plus non-wage costs such as employers’ social contributions. The share of non-wage costs for the whole economy was 23.7% in the EU-28, while it was 25.9 % in the euro area. The share of non-wage costs also varies substantially across EU Member States. The highest shares of non-wage costs for the whole economy were in Sweden (33.3 %), France (32.4 %), Lithuania (28.5%), Italy (28.1 %) Belgium and Slovakia (both 27.4 %). The lowest shares of non-wage costs for the whole economy were recorded for Malta (8.0 %), Denmark (12.4 %), Luxembourg (13.4 %), Ireland (13.8 %), Slovenia (14.7 %), the United Kingdom (15.3 %), Croatia (15.4 %) and Bulgaria (15.8 %). More ...

  1. The winter season runs from November to April of the following year. For example, the 2013/2014 winter season ran from November 2013 to April 2014.
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