Labor cost rises 1.4% until March after registering three quarters of falls




The labor cost of companies stood at 2,605.61 euros per worker and month in the first quarter of 2021, which represents an increase of 1.4% compared to the same period of the previous year and a positive rate after three quarters in which it fell before the impact of the pandemic by Covid-19.

According to data published this Thursday by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), the labor cost entered negative territory in the second quarter of last year when it fell by 8.3%, in the third quarter it fell by 1.1% and in the fourth quarter it did it by 0.1%. At the start of 2021 it returned to positive terrain. Adjusting for seasonal and calendar effects, total labor cost grew 1%.

The labor cost is made up of the wage cost and the other costs. Between January and March, wages (which includes all remuneration, both in cash and in kind) rose by 1% year-on-year, its highest increase since the end of 2019, to stand at 1,907.8 euros per worker per month. Other costs (non-salary costs) totaled 697.79 euros in the first quarter of the year, with a year-on-year increase of 2.5%.

During the first quarter, the agreed average weekly working hours, jointly considering full-time and part-time, was 34.5 hours. Of these, 5.6 hours were lost per week, of which 1.5 hours were not worked for technical, economic, organizational, production and / or force majeure reasons, including here the time not worked by those affected by ERTE, while 2.3 hours were not worked for vacations and parties; 1.4 hours are due to temporary disability leave and 0.4 hours are due to other causes (maternity and paternity leave, strikes, etc.).

The The hospitality industry was once again the sector most affected by the pandemic as its wages fell by 32.4% year-on-year and decrease the number of hours worked by 31%.

According to the INE, the labor cost per effective hour rose by 3.5% in the annual rate in the first quarter due to the lower number of hours worked in relation to the same period in 2020.

In quarter-on-quarter terms (fourth quarter of 2020 over the third quarter of the same year) and in seasonally and calendar-adjusted values, the labor cost per worker increased by 0.3%, while the cost per effective hour increased by 0.2% .

By autonomous communities, the labor cost in the Community of Madrid and the Basque Country exceeded the national average by more than 500 euros. The highest growth rates occurred in Murcia (+ 3.9%), Catalonia (+ 3.5%), the Basque Country and Aragon (both with + 3.1%). The Balearic Islands (-8%) and the Canary Islands (-6.6%) recorded the steepest falls.

Regarding working time, during the first quarter, the agreed average weekly working hours, considering jointly full time and part time, stood at 34.5 hours. Of these, 5.6 hours were lost per week, of which 2.3 were due to vacations and parties, 1.4 hours were due to sick leave due to work disability and 1.5 hours were not worked for technical reasons, economic, organizational, production and / or force majeure –including the time not worked of workers affected by ERTE–. The rest of the hours not worked (0.4) were motivated by other possible causes such as maternity or paternity, other paid leave, labor unrest, etc. If overtime is added and lost hours are subtracted, the day was reduced to 29 effective hours of work.

Depending on the type of working day, the wage difference between full-time and part-time workers was 4.68 euros per hour (15.69 euros per hour for full-time, compared to 11.01 for part-time).

The full-time workers practically doubled effective working hours carried out by part-time workers (32.6 hours per week, compared to 16.4).

On the other hand, the number of job vacancies in the first quarter stood at 100,041. Of this figure, 86.1% was in the services sector. Most of the units asked answered that they do not have vacancies to fill this quarter because they do not need additional workers.

The Community of Madrid, Catalonia and Andalusia recorded the highest vacancy figures, concentrating 59% of the total, unlike Cantabria, La Rioja and the Balearic Islands, with the lowest data.

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