Labor costs drop significantly

Greece is steadily closing the competitiveness gap with its European Union peers as far as the cost of labor is concerned, according to Eurostat data for the first quarter of 2012.

Within one year the cost of labor in Greece — i.e. what a company has to pay for the production of commodities per hour — went down by 11.5 percent, while in the eurozone it went up by 1.5 percent and in the EU-27 it increased by 1.4 percent on average.

Eurostat data show that salary costs declined by 10.9 percent year-on-year, while non-salary costs, such as social security contributions, contracted by 12.5 percent.

The total cost of labor at enterprises shrank by 8.9 percent, but in the non-business sector it went down by 15.7 percent, reflecting the large cuts to civil servants? salaries. The biggest reduction in labor costs was observed in the construction sector (down by 18.4 percent).

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras displayed these figures to the Eurogroup meeting in Nicosia last week, stressing that no further intervention is required in this direction.

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