RIGA - Latvia and Lithuania led the 25 members of the European Union in terms of labor cost growth in the first quarter of 2005, according to a new Eurostat study. Year-on-year, hourly wages surged 12.2 percent in Lithuania in the first quarter of 2005, while in Latvia the rate of increase was 16.3 percent.
By contrast, the average rise for the EU25 amounted to 3.4 percent over the three-month period.
In Estonia, hourly wages rose 9.6 percent in the first three months of 2005 compared with the same period last year. Slovenia surpassed Estonia with a rise of 11.5 percent in wages.
Latvia led other EU members in terms of hourly wages growth in the manufacturing sector, as the annual rise in hourly wages in the sector amounted to 13.8 percent in the January-to-March period. In Estonia the respective rise made up 12.8 percent, while in Lithuania the hourly wages in the manufacturing sector expanded by 9.7 percent in the comparative period. For the EU-25 the average growth was 3.6 percent.
Hourly wages as defined by the Eurostat survey included direct labor costs, as well as taxes and fees levied by public institutions. Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands and U.K. did not produce data for the survey.