Labour Cost Index

In the first quarter of 2020, the preliminary working-day adjusted Labour Cost Index (LCI) for the whole observed economy (sections B to S of ÖNACE 2008) rose by 8.6% compared to the previous year’s figure. The growth in gross wages and salaries per hour worked was 8.6% as well and the indirect labour costs per hour worked went up by 8.5%. In the fourth quarter of 2019 the working-day adjusted LCI increased by 2.3%.

Note: The reactions to curbing the corona pandemic by employers (closings, short-time work, recommendation on overtime reduction, etc.) from mid-March 2020 led to a decrease in hours worked in all sections of ÖNACE 2008. This development was primary responsible for the partly exceptionally high increases in labour costs per hour worked in the first quarter of 2020, relative to the same quarter of the previous year.

Info: Developments of the current quarter are provisional and may be revised with the publication of the next quarter. In addition, each third quarter, the index values are revised up to the first quarter of the previous year due to the availability of final data.

Manufacturing sector +5.7% (sections B to F of ÖNACE 2008)

In the manufacturing sector the labour costs per hour worked changed between 2.8% and 10.9%. The highest increase of the LCI was recorded in F – construction, here the LCI rose by 10.9% (+11.0% wages and salaries, +10.5% indirect labour costs). In the section with the most employees, C - manufacturing, an increase of 4.3% was recorded. Relative to section C, higher labour costs per hour were noted in section E - water supply and waste management by 6.5% and lower costs in sections D – electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply by 4.2% and B – mining and quarrying by 2.8%.

Index excluding bonuses

In the manufacturing sector the working day adjusted index excluding bonuses grew by 5.9% compared to the previous year’s quarter. Thus, it increased slightly stronger than the index including bonuses (+5.7%).

Info: Bonuses are defined as payments which are not paid in every remuneration period (e.g. 13th and 14th monthly pays, exceptional length-of-service awards) and voluntary severance pays (e.g. golden handshakes).

Services sector +9.8% (sections G to S of ÖNACE 2008)

Sections G to N of ÖNACE 2008 +11.5%

In the economic section with most enterprises G – wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles the LCI increased by 8.7% compared to the previous year’s quarter (wages and salaries +8.8% and indirect labour costs +8.7%). The largest increase in labour costs per hour was recorded in section I – accommodation and food service activities by 25.3%. Also strong increases were recorded in sections N – administrative and support service activities by 19.8% and L – real estate activities by 15.6%.

Sections O to S of ÖNACE 2008 +6.8%

The working day adjusted index in sections O to S went up by 6.8% (gross wages and salaries by +7.1%, indirect labour costs by +5.7%, each per hour worked) relative to the previous year’s figure.

Note: Currently sections I to L and P to S have no significant effect regarding working days; consequently, unadjusted series and working-day adjusted series will be identical until working-day adjustment will be possible. For the series of ‘indirect labour costs’ in sections H, N and Q and for the series of ‘wages and salaries’ in section N a leap year effect can be measured, which is adjusted and consequently these series, including the resulting series ‘total labour costs’, change.

Info: The calculation of the labour cost index is based on administrative data and statistical surveys; therefore, index values are subject to some random fluctuation. In the services sector this is mainly caused by fluctuations in the hours actually worked as collected by the microcensus labour force survey.

Results of the labour cost index in the EU member states and other participating countries (currently Norway and Turkey) are published by Eurostat in a publicly available database (‘Labour costs’ > ‘Labour cost index’ > ‘Labour cost index by NACE Rev. 2 activity - nominal value, quarterly data (lc_lci_r2_q)’).

Please consult our German website for tables containing further information.

Results (overview): Labour Cost Index (working-day adjusted), whole economy (ÖNACE 2008 sections B to S)

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