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Bulgaria with Highest Labor Costs Increase in EU in 2009

Date: 02.04.2010

Bulgaria registered the greatest labor and non-wage costs growth in the EU in 2009, according to data of Germany's Federal Statistical Office (Destatis)

In spite of that, however, the country remains the EU member state with the lowest labor costs in the 27-nation bloc.

The ranking of the Federal Statistical Office features two main components of labour costs: gross wages and salaries and non-wage costs. Employers’ social contributions, that is above all the statutory social security contributions payable by employers and the expenditure for company old-age pension schemes, constitute the main component of non-wage costs.

Employers of the Bulgarian private industry paid an average of EUR 2.9 per hour worked in 2009.

The data points to a sharp 2009 increase of 13.4 % in labor costs per hour worked in Bulgaria, as compared to the previous year.

Like in other member states including Germany, this has been the result of decline in the number of hours worked (reduction of overtime hours on working time accounts and short-time work) during the economic crisis.

On the other hand, some Central and Eastern European countries have experienced a significant decline in labor costs over the period in question due partly to massive devaluation of the national currency against the euro: the reported figures for Poland, Hungary and Lithuania point to a decrease by 17, 8 and 6.5 % respectively.

In Bulgaria, the level of non-wage costs to be paid per EUR 100 of wages amounted to Euro 23, ranking it among the bottom countries before Slovenia, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Denmark and Malta.

Analysing the ratio of non-wage costs to gross wages and salaries can serve as a basis for a comparison of non-wage costs irrespective of the wage level in the individual Member States. In 2009, the non-wage costs paid by employers in Germany per EUR 100 of gross wages and salaries amounted to EUR 32.

Hence Germany was below the European average of Euro 36. It ranked thirteenth and thus occupied a ‘mid-table’ position within the European Union. In France, the level of non-wage costs to be paid per Euro 100 of wages amounted to Euro 50, while it was not higher than Euro 9 in Malta.

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