Wage increases continue to decelerate in first quarter ({{commentsTotal}})

Wages. Photo is illustrative.
Wages. Photo is illustrative. Source: (Reuters/Scanpix)

According to information released by Statistics Estonia, in the first quarter of 2017, average monthly gross wages in Estonia increased 5.7 percent on year, marking the fourth successive quarter of decelerated wage growth.

In the first quarter of 2017, the average monthly gross wages and salaries were €1,153 and the average hourly gross wages €7.13. Compared to the first quarter of 2016, the average monthly gross wages and salaries increased 5.7 percent and average hourly gross wages 3.9 percent. The year-over-year growth in average monthly gross wages and salaries was 1.2 percent slower than in the previous quarter and on-year growth decelerated for the fourth successive quarter.

The average monthly gross wages and salaries were €1,121 in January, €1,117 in February and €1,228 in March. Compared to the previous quarter, average monthly gross wages and salaries fell 2.4 percent, due mainly to a decrease in irregular bonuses and premiums. Without irregular bonuses and premiums, the average monthly gross wages and salaries decreased 0.9 percent compared to the previous quarter.

In the first quarter of this year, irregular bonuses and premiums decreased 30.1 percent per employee compared to the fourth quarter of 2016 and 2.4 percent per employee compared to the first quarter of last year. Irregular bonuses and premiums affected the year-over-year increase in average monthly gross wages and salaries by 0.3 percent. Without irregular bonuses and premiums, average monthly gross wages and salaries increased 6 percent compared to the first quarter of 2016.

Real wages, which take into account the influence of the change in the consumer price index, increased slower (2.6 percent) than average monthly gross wages and salaries in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the first quarter of 2016 due to an increase in consumer prices. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, real wages have been increasing since the second half of 2011.

Average monthly gross wages and salaries remained highest in information and communication and in financial and insurance activities at €2,004 and €1,917, respectively. Compared to the first quarter of 2016, the average monthly gross wages and salaries increased the most in other service activities (e.g. activities of membership organizations, repair of household goods, beauty treatments), where the average monthly gross wages and salaries are the lowest (€640). The year-over-year growth of 16 percent in this economic activity was mainly due the increase in minimum wages from €430 to €470. Greater year-over-year increases in average monthly gross wages and salaries also occurred in mining and quarrying (11 percent), electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (11 percent), wholesale and retail trade (9 percent) and in information and communication (9 percent). Compared to the first quarter of 2016, average monthly gross wages and salaries decreased or remained relatively constant in administrative and support service activities (-1.3 percent), agriculture, forestry and fishing (-0.8 percent), human health and social work activities (-0.2 percent) and in financial and insurance activities (0.2 percent).

In the first quarter of 2017, the year-over-year growth in average monthly gross wages and salaries was faster than average in the Estonian private sector (6.6 percent) and in state organizations (6.6 percent) and slower than average in local government organizations (5.4 percent) and the foreign private sector (4.2 percent).

In the first quarter of 2017, by county, the average monthly gross wages and salaries were the highest in Harju (€1,284) and Tartu (€1,140) Counties and the lowest in Jõgeva (€850), Põlva (€840) and Saare (€816) Counties. Meanwhile, the year-over-year growth of average monthly gross wages and salaries was the highest in Võru (8.4 percent), Pärnu (7.9 percent) and Ida-Viru (7.7 percent) Counties.

According to the Wages and Salaries Statistics Survey, the number of employees converted to full-time units increased 6.7 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2016 and two percent compared to the first quarter of 2016. The biggest year-over-year increase in the number of employees in full-time units occurred in real estate activities (25 percent), administrative and support service activities (15 percent) and in information and communication (12 percent), and the biggest year-over-year decrease occurred in other service activities (12 percent) and in transportation and storage (seven percent). Over the course of a year, the number of employees converted to full-time units increased three percent in the private sector and decreased one percent in the public sector.

In the first quarter of 2017, the average monthly labor costs per employee were €1,556 and hourly labour costs €10.10. Compared to the first quarter of 2016, the average monthly labor costs per employee increased 5.5 percent.

Editor: Aili Vahtla



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