Labour Cost Index

Increase of the Labour Cost Index in the second quarter of 2020

Economic indicators
Increase of the Labour Cost Index in the second quarter of 2020

In the second quarter of 2020, the total hourly labour cost increases by 2.0 % on an annual basis.

The sharpest increase of the labour cost is noted in the NACE section N (Administrative and support service activities), with 2.4 %. The smallest increase (1.4 %) concerns the NACE section H (Transportation and storage).

The Labour Cost Index only measures the hours actually worked and the associated labour costs. Therefore, the various measures due to the coronavirus, such as temporary unemployment, have no impact on the results.

Seasonally adjusted basis 2016=100 2019Q2 2019Q3 2019Q4 2020Q1 2020Q2
Mining and quarrying (B) 105.28 105.86 106.30 106.81 107.39
Manufacturing (C) 104.68 105.49 105.92 106.58 107.14
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (D) 103.90 104.45 104.87 105.47 105.99
Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities € 104.93 105.50 105.88 106.24 106.66
Construction (F) 104.04 104.82 105.27 105.87 106.38
Wholesale and retail trade ; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (G) 105.33 106.03 106.47 106.89 107.40
Transportation and storage (H) 104.26 104.69 105.01 105.40 105.75
Accommodation and food service activities (I) 102.59 103.08 103.50 103.99 104.42
Information and communication (J) 105.23 106.08 106.45 106.89 107.46
Financial and insurance activities (K) 103.42 103.84 104.11 104.65 105.11
Real estate activities (L) 105.05 105.64 106.09 106.61 107.16
Professional, scientific and technical activities (M) 105.09 105.75 106.17 106.73 107.26
Administrative and support service activities (N) 104.62 104.97 105.35 105.88 106.61
Public administration and defence; compulsory social security (O) 104.70 105.41 105.78 106.12 106.59
Education (P) 105.60 106.13 106.60 106.92 107.59
Human health and social work activities (Q) 103.88 103.88 104.11 104.49 105.34
Arts, entertainment and recreation (R 104.25 104.67 104.85 105.41 106.12
Other service activities (S) 105.86 106.47 106.87 107.46 108.01

Purpose and brief description

The Labour Cost Index shows the development of the average hourly labour costs in all sectors. In this regard, the T+2 version of the NSSO files is used.

Moreover, total labour costs can be broken down into three subordinate components. First, the contributions can be excluded from the analysis. The evolution of the gross salaries, on the one hand, and of employers’ social security contributions, on the other hand, can also be followed up with separate indices.

Both the seasonally-adjusted index and the non-seasonally-adjusted series can be consulted.


NSSO employers



Timing of publication

Results available 70 days after the reference period


Gross wages and salaries: Wages and salaries include normal earnings that employees or apprentices receive in return for their work and extraordinary earnings such as overtime, commissions and tips. Additional payments such as 13th and 14th month's pay, paid leave and holiday pay, profit-sharing bonuses, other lump sum benefits and shares are also included.

Employers' social contributions: Employers' social contributions are defined as payments made, during the reference period, by employers for the benefits of their employees to insurers covering statutory, conventional or contractual contributions in respect of insurance against social risks.

It includes:

  • employers' contributions to private retirement (pension) plans;
  • employers' contributions to private health insurance;
  • employers' contributions to life insurance;
  • employers' contributions to other employer insurance schemes (e.g. disability);
  • employers' contributions to government insurance (social security) schemes (including payroll taxes levied for social insurance purposes).

Total labour costs: labour costs mean the total expenditure borne by employers in order to employ staff. Labour costs include:

  • a) compensation of employees with wages and salaries in cash or in kind;
  • b) employers' social contributions;
  • c) vocational training costs;
  • d) employers' other expenditures;
  • e) taxes relating to employment regarded as labour costs, less any subsidies received.

Bonuses are all payments to employees which are not paid regularly at each (weekly or monthly) pay period. These include bonuses and allowances paid at fixed periods but not for each pay period (e.g. paid monthly where regular payments are weekly, or paid quarterly, bi-annually or annually), and bonuses linked to individual or collective performance. Exceptional payments to employees who leave the enterprise are included here, provided that such payments are not linked to a collective agreement.