Labour Cost Index

In the third 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 0.7% compared to the previous year’s figure. This rose is created by the decrease in gross wages and salaries by -0.2% and the increase in indirect labour costs by 3.4%, in each case per hour worked. In the second quarter of 2020 the working-day adjusted LCI increased by 4.9%.

Note: Since March 2020 there have been extraordinary movements on the labour market due to the corona pandemic, such as company closures, short-time work, recommendations on overtime and vacation reductions and other effects. In most economic branches, these movements have been measured promptly as fewer hours worked. The labour costs often remained at the same level, as the short-time working allowance (to reduce labour costs) of the Public Employment Service started with a delay, then the relevant data was only available in October and therefore, were taken into account in the current calculation for the first time. Since these data are continuously updated, the index values for the current and previous quarters (second quarter of 2020) are considered provisional.

Info: Developments of the current and previous 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 +1.0% (sections B to F of ÖNACE 2008)

In the manufacturing sector the labour costs per hour worked changed between -1.9% and 4.0%. The highest increase of the LCI was recorded in section B – mining and quarrying, here the LCI rose by 4.0% (+3.0% wages and salaries, +7.2% indirect labour costs). In the section with the most employees, C - manufacturing, an increase of 0.9% was recorded. Relative to section C, higher labour costs per hour were noted in sections E - water supply and waste management and F – construction by 3.8% respectively 1.5%. In section D – electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply the LCI declined by -1.9%.

Index excluding bonuses

In the manufacturing sector the working day adjusted index excluding bonuses grew by 0.6% compared to the previous year’s quarter. Thus, it increased slightly less than the index including bonuses (+1.0%).

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 +0.5% (sections G to S of ÖNACE 2008)

Sections G to N of ÖNACE 2008 +1.7%

In the economic section with most enterprises G – wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles the LCI increased by 0.7% compared to the previous year’s quarter (wages and salaries +0.3% and indirect labour costs +2.1%). The largest increase in labour costs per hour was recorded in section L – real estate activities by 11.7%. Also strong growth was recorded in section J – information and communication by 7.9%. In sections K – financials and insurance activities and N – administrative and support service activities labour costs decreased by -0.9% respectively -3.5%.

Sections O to S of ÖNACE 2008 -1.4%

The working day adjusted index in sections O to S went down by -1.4% (gross wages and salaries by -1.9%, indirect labour costs by +0.7%, each per hour worked) relative to the previous year’s figure.

Note: Currently sections H to N 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.

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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