Tuesday 19 March 2019 2:56 pm

Wages up across Europe despite gloomy economic climate

Wages across the European Union grew an average of three per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018, while Eurozone wages grew by 2.3 per cent, official statistics today showed.

Hourly wages in the UK grew by 3.4 per cent quarter on quarter, the most of the EU’s major economies, figures from Eurostat, the EU’s statistics body, revealed.

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The EU's industry, construction and services sectors experienced similar wage growth, registering figures of 2.7 per cent, three per cent, and 2.9 per cent respectively.

The UK’s overall figure was significantly higher than the two per cent wage growth it witnessed between the second and third quarters of 2018.

German wage growth slowed to 2.4 per cent between the third and fourth quarters of 2018, down from 2.7 per cent between the second and third quarters. French wages grew 1.9 per cent between quarters three and four, up from 1.6 per cent between quarters two and three.

Speaking on the 19-member Eurozone's performance, senior Europe economist at Capital Economics Jack Allen told City A.M. that the data showed “that wage growth slowed slightly in quarter four both at the Eurozone level and across most member states.”

“It also showed that wage growth slowed across a broad range of sectors as well: industries, services and construction. Obviously you can't automatically conclude from that that wage growth is going to carry on falling”, he said. “But I think there's certainly a few good reasons to think that it's not going to resume its rise.”

“If you look at measures of slack in the labour market they suggest that actually spare capacity increased at the end of last year and at the start of this year, particularly in Germany”, he added. “We don't think wage growth is going to keep on falling but it's probably reached a peak.”

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In the Netherlands, wages grew 2.3 per cent in the last three months of 2018 compared the quarter before. Italy’s wage growth was 1.7 per cent, while Spain’s was 1.2 per cent over the period.