Enterprises in France2015 Edition
This new edition of the “Enterprises in France” issue from the “Insee Références” collection offers a comprehensive structural view of our productive system.
A comparison in the cost of labour in Europe: what change has there been since the crisis?
The hourly costs of labour in 2012 varied greatly between the European Union countries in industry and in market services, and even within the ex-EU15 there were significance differences. The hourly costs of labour differed almost as much according to the country as the economic activity, but the sectoral composition of countries explained very little about the differences in the average costs between countries. Within the countries of the ex-EU15, the hourly costs were generally higher in the countries where the number of hours worked is lower. France was not in the group of countries with the highest costs but it was not far off. In 2012, it was in 5th place for cost level in market services and in 4th place in industry. Between 2008 and 2012, the hourly cost in France rose by 2.4% on average per year in industry and by 2.3% in market services, a rate close to the average in the ex-EU15. Since 2012, the increase in the hourly cost in France was much more moderate, particularly with the entry into force of the CICE tax credit. The hourly costs of labour seemed to converge between 1996 and 2008. They rose more rapidly in countries where the level of cost was initially low, rather than in the countries where it was higher. Between 2008 and 2012, this convergence stopped in industry and may even have been reversed. In market services, the convergence had already stopped between 2004 and 2008, following a catch-up effect which, however, occurred more rapidly than in industry between 1996 and 2004. Changes in the unit wage cost, which takes account of the costs of productivity, confirmed this observation. Since 2012, the hourly costs in countries in the ex-EU15 have diverged even more.