According to Eurostat labour costs in the Eurozone and the EU25 have been increasing less rapidly recently. In real terms labour costs per hour have increased by 2.4% on an annual basis in the fourth quarter of 2006 in the Eurozone (EZ12), whereas in the third quarter 2006 these costs had increased by 2.5%. In the EU25 the annual increase in labour costs for the fourth quarter of 2006 was 2.7% after an increase by 3.0% in the previous quarter.
The two main components of labour costs are wages and salaries on the one hand and add-on costs on the other. Wages and salaries in the Eurozone increased by 2.5% on an annual basis in the fourth quarter of 2006, whereas the increase in add-on costs was 2.2%. In the third quarter of 2006 these two components rose by 2.7% and 2.2% respectively. In the EU25 the corresponding increases were 2.8%, 2.3%, 3.2% and 2.0% respectively.
If grouped by economic sector, hourly labour costs in the Eurozone increased most in industry (2.2%), construction industry (2.6%) and the service sector (2.5%) in the fourth quarter of 2006. In the EU25 labour cost in industry rose by 2.5% and by 2.8% in the building and service industry.