Greek hourly labor costs up as public hirings rise, Eurostat shows

5 January 2017
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Average hourly labor costs and hirings in the public sector rose in 2016, compared to the private sector, which saw a drop, according to the latest data from Eurostat.

The European statistics agency produced figures showing that average hourly labor costs in the public sector were up by 4.5 percent while corresponding costs in the private sector suffered a 3.1 percent slide, mainly due to mass sackings.

Factoring in retirements, the Greek public sector grew by 6,803 people while the private sector shrank by 37,667 in November alone, when 157,385 hirings were registered as opposed to 195,052 people leaving – 66,978 of them were voluntary.

The balance for 2016 across both sectors was positive, with 1,987,838 hirings compared to 1,862,710 people leaving their jobs.

The issue of hirings in the public sector has been ferociously debated in Parliament, with opposition New Democracy accusing the government of giving jobs to its “own people.”

Overall, factoring in both the private and public sectors, labor costs in Greece for 2016 were up by 0.5 percent.
Labor costs are calculated based on costs for wages and salaries plus non-wage costs such as employers’ social contributions.

Eurostat also said the overall hourly labor costs, in both private and state sectors, were also up in other European Union countries and the eurozone.

More specifically, in the third quarter of 2016, the total hourly labor cost was up by 1.5 percent in eurozone countries, while the increase in the second quarter was at 1 percent.

In the EU, there was a rise of 1.9 percent in the third quarter, compared to 1.4 percent in the second.

Broken down, the rise in the eurozone is attributed to a 1.6 percent increase in wage costs and a 1.2 percent spike in non-wage costs.

In the EU, the increases were at 2 percent and 1.5 percent respectively.

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