The Labour cost index published by Eurostat provides information on the labour costs per hour worked for all countries within the European Union. Labour costs are defined as the total of wages and social contributions paid by employers minus labour cost subsidies. The amount of hours worked is the total amount of hours an employee has actually worked. Excluded are hours not worked as a result of holiday, reduced working hours schemes, illness, etc. Overtime hours are included.
Labour costs are calculated in the local currency. Twelve countries accepted the euro as their currency in 2002. Today, the euro is the official currency in 17 of the 27 EU countries. Changes in the exchange rate of local currencies against the euro between 2001 and 2011 are not reflected in the labour cost development graph. For Greece, the change over the period 2000-2010 is given, since the result for 2011 is as yet not available.
Eurostat calculated the results regarding labour costs per hour worked in industry and commercial services in 2011 by extrapolation of the data from the Labour costs survey 2008 with the data of the Labour cost index 2008-2011. The results of the Labour costs survey 2008 refer to businesses employing ten or more people.