Life standard on the rise in Estonia

  • 1998-08-27
  • By Urmas Maranik
TALLINN - Average wages in Estonia before taxes have been constantly increasing since 1994, the Estonian Statistics Department has concluded. In the second quarter of 1998, average wages crept to their highest level ever.

The monthly salary for employees with both full and part-time jobs at companies, institutions and organizations was 4,255 kroons ($303.9). The average pay for an hour's work was 24.11 kroons.

Compared to the same period last year, the average gross wages increased by 16.3 percent and the gross hourly payment by 17.7 percent.

Epp Karus, the head specialist of the trade statistics sector of the Statistics Department said that compared to the first quarter of 1997 the salaries have moved up by 19.4 percent this year.

Fishing sector workers have been getting the biggest raise in salaries with 29.8 percent growth compared to the second quarter of 1997. The slightest increase in wages, a mere 4.8 percent, took place within the energetic, gas and water supply sectors.

Estonians working in the financial sector were making the most money with monthly salaries exceeding 2.1 times the average level. According to the Estonian Statistics Department, the least was earned by the hotel and restaurant personnel; only 54.9 percent of the average level.

"Wages have increased, consequently purchasing power gets a boost as well, especially when it prevails inflation," Karus said.

Together with increases in wages grew the business turnover for Estonian retailers. Both the sales of accommodations and catering services increased in the second quarter compared to the first three months of this year. Stores sold goods worth 4.8 billion kroons ($342.8 million), which is 500 million kroons more than in the first quarter. Taking into account the growth of the Consumer Price Index, which was 1.4 percent, retail grew by 11 percent.

The Estonian Statistics Department informs that April, May and June of 1998 were especially encouraging for textile, apparel and footwear retailers. Compared to the first quarter, turnover in these sectors grew by 21 percent.

Commenting on the prospering textile and apparel sectors the head specialist was not so positive. "Compared to the first quarter, turnovers have increased by more than a fifth, but corresponding sales figures for 1997 were seven percent higher," Karus said.