Latvia's labor costs up three times since joining EU

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Latvia's labor costs have grown three times since joining EU, according to data published April 9 by Eurostat

In 2004 the average hourly labor costs were €2.7/h and €8.1 in 2017. The average index in the so-called Old European countries were €24.2 and €30.8 respectively in these years, according to estimates by

This means that hourly labor costs were €21.5 less than in "Old Europe" in 2004 and €22.7 less in 2017. 

From 2004 to 2017, Latvia moved up one place in terms of labor costs with an hour of work costing €0.5 less than in Lithuania in 2004 and €0.1 more than in Lithuania in 2017. 

Labor costs in Latvia as compared to the rest of EU, 2004 and 2017 in euros

Meanwhile in Estonia labor costs were €1.6 higher in 2004 and €3.6 higher in 2017. 

Indeed, the difference is growing in comparison with many countries to which Latvians emigrate: from €24.1 to €26 as compared to Germany, €26.9 to €34.4 in Denmark, €26.3 to €28.5 in Sweden and €22.6 to €22.9 in Ireland. 

Britain remains an exception, however, with the difference shrinking presumably due to the shrinking value of the British pound. 

Nevertheless, while the increase is there in absolute numbers, proportionally speaking in 2004 Latvia's labor costs were 11% from those in "Old Europe", but in 2017 the number was 26%. 

The Eurostat statistics include data from all industries, from companies with at least 10 employees, while data from the public sector and agriculture are not included. 

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