Alexis Montaut, division Salaires et revenus d'activité, Insee
In 2004, an hour of paid employment in manufacturing, construction, commercial activities and finance cost 2.2 times more than it did in 1975. The hourly cost rose very sharply until the mid 1980s and was then more modest. Of course, salary growth partly explains the increasing cost. However, the reduction in the number of hours worked, the creation of save-as-you-earn schemes, the rise in labour costs for companies and a more qualified workforce were also contributory factors. Overall, the rise in the hourly cost was counterbalanced by productivity gains of the same size. Unit labour costs have therefore slightly decreased over the last thirty years.