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In the second quarter of 2020, the quarter when the COVID-19 containment measures were widely in force in the European Union, the hourly labour costs rose by 4.2% in the euro area and by 4.1% in the European Union (EU), compared with the same quarter of the previous year. In the first quarter of 2020, hourly labour costs increased

by 3.7% and 3.9% respectively. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

The two main components of labour costs are wages & salaries and non-wage costs. In the euro area, the cost of wages & salaries per hour worked grew by 5.2% and the non-wage component grew by 0.8% in the second quarter of 2020 compared with the same quarter of the previous year. In the first quarter of 2020, the annual changes were +3.9% for wages & salaries and +3.1% for the non-wage component. In the EU, the costs of hourly wages & salaries increased by +5.3% and the non-wage component rose by +0.1% in the second quarter of 2020. In the first quarter of 2020, annual changes were +4.1% and +3.3% respectively. In both the EU and the euro area, the increase in hourly wage costs indicates that the decrease in the number of hours worked, due to the COVID-19 crisis, was not fully compensated by a matching decrease in wages. This increase in hourly wage costs was partly compensated by the moderate increase in the non-wage component, due to tax reliefs and subsidies introduced by EU governments to support enterprises affected by the crisis

Breakdown by economic activity.     In the second quarter of 2020 compared with the same quarter of the previous year, hourly labour costs in the euro area rose by 4.3% in the (mainly) non-business economy and by 4.1% in business economy: 4.4% in services, 3.8% in industry and 2.8% in construction. In the EU, hourly labour cost grew by 4.3% in the (mainly) non-business economy and by 4.0% in the business economy: 4.3% services, 3.9% in industry and 2.3% in construction.