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According to the latest figures published by the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat), hourly labour costs in the 16 countries which use the Euro as their common currency (EA16) rose by 3.2% in the year up to the third quarter of 2009, compared with 4.3% for the previous quarter. In all 27 countries of the European Union (EU27), the annual rise was 3.1% up to the third quarter of 2009, compared with 4.2% for the previous quarter.
The two main components of labour costs are wages/salaries and non-wage costs. In the euro area, wages/salaries per hour worked grew by 3.1% in the year up to the third quarter of 2009, and the non-wage component by 3.6%, compared with 4.2% and 4.6% respectively for the second quarter of 2009. In the EU27, hourly wages and salaries rose by 2.9% and the non-wage component by 3.6%, compared with 4.1% for both components for the previous quarter.
The breakdown by economic activity shows that in the euro area hourly labour costs rose by 5.4% in industry, 2.9% in construction and 2.0% in services in the year up to the third quarter of 2009. In the EU27, labour costs per hour grew by 4.9% in industry and by 2.3% in both construction and services.
Among the Member States for which data are available for the third quarter of 2009, annual decreases in hourly labour costs were observed in Lithuania (-10.9%), Estonia (-4.3%), Latvia (-2.7%) and The Netherlands (-0.8%). The highest annual rises were registered in Bulgaria (+10.4%), Romania (+9.6%), the Czech Republic (+6.4%), Finland (+6.2%), Germany (+4.8%), Spain and Portugal (both +4.7%).