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    Slower Q2 labour cost increase in Belgium than in Euro zone

    The hourly cost of labour increased by 1.8% in the euro zone and by 2.2% in the entire European Union (EU) in the second quarter of 2017 over the corresponding period of the previous year, according to figures published Friday by Eurostat. However, the increase was just 1.1% in Belgium. Belgium’s increase was also lower than that of the three main neighbouring countries: Germany (+2.3%), France (+1.4%) and the Netherlands (+1.7%) – which means that Belgium reduced part of its wage handicap in the second quarter.

    The main components of labour costs are salaries and allowances, along with non-wage costs. In Belgium, salaries and allowances increased by 1.6% over a year, in the second quarter, while non-salary costs increased by 0.5%.

    Overall hourly labour costs thus increased by 1.1. % in the second quarter in Belgium, as against a limited rise of 0.7% in the first quarter of the year, 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2016, 0.3% in the third quarter of 2016 and 0.1% in the second quarter of 2016.

    In the second quarter of 2017, the highest increases in labour costs were registered in Rumania (+18%), Hungary (+13%), the Czech Republic (+11.1%), Bulgaria (11.1%) and Lithuania (+10.4%). A slight decrease was observed in Finland (-0.3%).

    Christopher Vincent

    The Brussels Times