Wiesbaden (dpa) – Statistically speaking, labour costs in Germany increased significantly in the second quarter due to corona restrictions. According to calculations by the Federal Statistical Office, the cost per hour worked rose by 5.1 percent compared to the same period last year – and thus more than ever before since the start of the collection of this data in 1996.

The Wiesbaden statisticians explained the sharp rise on Tuesday with the effects of the Corona pandemic: because companies shut down their operations and sent employees on forced leave or parents had to look after children at home for a time because of closed daycare centers and schools, the number of hours worked went down to the basement. This distorts the statistics to a certain extent. This effect could already be observed in the first quarter of 2020. Compared with the previous quarter, labor costs rose by 1.9 percent in the period from April to June inclusive.

The labor costs are made up of gross earnings and non-wage labor costs. In the second quarter of this year, gross earnings rose by 4.9 percent compared to the same quarter of the previous year, while non-wage labor costs increased by 5.7 percent.

In a comparison of the European Union, for which current data is available for the first quarter of 2020, one hour of work in Germany was 3.4 percent more expensive than in the same quarter of the previous year. This puts Europe’s largest economy exactly in line with the EU average.

According to the figures, labor costs rose most strongly in Lithuania (plus 11.2 percent) and least in Luxembourg (plus 0.1 percent). In Croatia, labor costs even fell by 1.1 percent. The European comparison covers industry and economic services, but not public services and health care.

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