Posted June 23rd, 2011
According to EU statistics agency Eurostat, the cost of employing an Irish person fell by almost two per cent last quarter. Only Greece (seven per cent) and Ireland (two per cent) saw a fall in labour costs per hour in the first quarter of the year. The 27 EU states saw an average of a two-and-a-half per cent increase.
The construction sector suffered an 11.6 per cent drop in wages and an 11 per cent drop in overall labour costs. Overall labour costs are made up of wages, including overtime and bonuses, and non-wage costs such as PRSI. The cost of wages on a national scale fell by 2.6 per cent.
A recent study on the same issue by the Central Statistics Office revealed very similar results. The report by the CSO showed that the average weekly earnings in the construction sector fell by 11 per cent last year.
A spokesman for Siptu said: “It confirms what we’ve been saying for the almost two years now. The effect of this is to further depress consumer spending because it’s taking money out of consumer’s pockets, and that’s contributing to the downward spiral.”
According to an Ibec spokesman, international competitiveness is the factor that will lead to increased employment and consumer spending. The spokesman went on to say that Ireland’s productivity has increased recently in line with reduced costs, and while Greece is not increasing their output, Ireland is.
“While they’re bringing down costs, [Greece] is not increasing their productivity.”