In the German industry and the service sector hourly labour costs were up by 3.9% in the fourth quarter 2008 as compared to the fourth quarter in 2007. This is the biggest increase since 1997. In comparison with the third quarter 2008 hourly labour costs increased by 1.7% in the fourth quarter after adjustments for season and calendar.
On the European level there are currently data for the third quarter last year available. According to these data, one labour hour became by 2.8% more expensive in Germany in the third quarter last year as compared to the third quarter 2007 which is one of the smallest increases in the European Union besides Malta and Sweden (+2.5% each) and Great Britain (+2.7%). In France and Luxembourg the respective increases in hourly labour costs were 2.9% and 3.3% respectively. Labour costs grew most in Romania (+21.2%) and Latvia (+20.5%). In the European Union the average increase amounted to 4.1% in the third quarter last year.