methods, notes and classification Mean annual holidays by sex, age and economic activity methods, notes and classification

Labour market

Labour Market (including the Labour Force Survey)

Labour market statistics measure the involvement of individuals, households and businesses in the labour market. They cover short-term and structural aspects of the labour market, both for the supply and the demand side, in monetary and non-monetary terms.

These aspects include:

* Employment and unemployment − the Labour Force Survey (LFS)
* Job vacancies
* Earnings − gross and net earnings, the Structure of Earnings Survey (SES), gender pay gap, minimum wages
* Labour costs incurred by businesses − the quarterly Labour Cost Index (LCI), annual labour costs data, the Labour Cost Survey (LCS)
* Labour market policies (LMPs)
* Labour disputes

Additional data concerning the labour market can be found in other sections, notably in national accounts and regional statistics.

Use of Data

Statistics on the labour market are used to monitor the Europe 2020 strategy, the European Employment Strategy (EES) and respond to the requirements of economic and monetary policy in the European Union:

* Annual statistics make a key contribution to the indicator sets for the Europe 2020 strategy, and in particular for the employment guidelines ([part II of the Europe 2020 Integrated Guidelines][1]).
* Infra-annual statistics such as monthly unemployment rates, the Labour Cost Index (LCI) and the quarterly job vacancy statistics (JVS), which belong to the Principal European Economic Indicators (PEEIs), provide important information for business cycle analysis and policy decisions. 

Labour market statistics are also directly relevant to citizens since employment and unemployment are of central concern to individuals and society.

Job vacancies

Job vacancy statistics provide information on unmet labour demand. Information on job vacancies is used for business cycle analysis and assessing mismatches on labour markets.

A job vacancy is defined as a paid post that is newly created, unoccupied, or about to become vacant:

1. for which the employer is taking active steps and is prepared to take further steps to find a suitable candidate from outside the enterprise concerned; and
2. which the employer intends to fill either immediately or within a specific period of time. 

A vacant post that is only open to internal candidates is not treated as a 'job vacancy', whereas vacancies from temporary work agencies are counted in the business sector where the vacancy is, not in the agency.

Eurostat publishes quarterly and annual data on job vacancies. The regulation (EC) No. 453/2008, made quarterly JVS compulsory from January 2010. This data is intended for short-term business cycle analysis. Member States whose number of employees represents more than 3 % of the European Union total transmit the aggregate number of vacancies and occupied posts within 45 days after the end of the reference quarter, and from this Eurostat calculates a flash estimate of the JVR. Data for all participating countries is available around 75 days after the end of the reference quarter. Quarterly data is broken down by economic activity and enterprise size.

Annual data is suited for more structural detailed analysis as they are, in addition - where available, broken down by region and occupation. Data on annual job vacancies are collected on voluntary basis.

Currently data are only published in the database, look under 'database' in the left column.


Earnings statistics vary with regard to periodicity of the data collection (biannual, annual and four-yearly), coverage (economic activity, enterprise size) and units of measurement (hourly, monthly or yearly earnings).

Annual gross earnings

Annual gross earnings cover remuneration in cash paid by the employer before tax deductions and social security contributions payable by wage-earners and retained by the employer. Countries provide earnings data and number of employees by sex and by economic activity. The data collection is based on a gentlemen's agreement between Eurostat and the Member States and data become available approximately 12 months after the end of the reference period.

Annual average gross earnings are the basis for the calculation of several other indicators such as annual net earnings, representing the workers earnings after deductions, and the tax rate indicators.

Net earnings and tax rates

The transition from annual gross to annual net earnings requires the deduction of income taxes and employees' social security contributions from the gross amounts and the addition of family allowances. The amount of these components, and therefore the ratio of net to gross earnings, depends on the personal situation of the worker. Different family situations are considered, all referring to an 'average worker'. Differences exist with respect to marital status (single vs. married), number of earners (only for couples) and number of dependent children. Annual net earnings are collected according to a gentlemen's agreement and data become available approximately 12 months after the end of the reference period.

Tax rate indicators (tax wedge on labour costs, unemployment trap and low wage trap) are based on annual average gross and net earnings. They aim at monitoring work attractiveness. The tax rate indicators are calculated by the OECD according to a generally-accepted model.

Structure of Earnings Survey

Detailed tables on the results of the four-yearly Structure of Earnings Survey (SES) provide comparable information at EU-level on relationships between the level of earnings, individual characteristics of employees (sex, age, occupation, length of service, educational level) and their employer (economic activity, size of the enterprise, etc.) for reference years 2002, 2006 and 2010 (next survey: reference year 2014). The data collection is based on Council Regulation (EC) No 530/1999 of 9 March 1999 concerning structural statistics on earnings and on labour costs, and data become available approximately 2 years after the end of the reference year. Access to microdata is granted to researchers according to specific conditions and respecting statistical confidentiality.

Gender Pay Gap

The unadjusted Gender Pay Gap (GPG) represents the difference between average gross hourly earnings of male paid employees and of female paid employees as a percentage of average gross hourly earnings of male paid employees. The GPG data is based on the methodology of the Structure of Earnings Survey (SES). GPG data are released approximately 12 months after the end of the reference period.

Minimum wages

Minimum wage statistics refer to minimum wages set by national legislation and applicable to the majority of full-time salaried workers in each country. According to a gentlemen's agreement, data is provided biannually to Eurostat, in January and in July.

Labour costs

Labour cost statistics provide a detailed picture of the level, structure and short-term development of labour costs.

Quarterly Labour Cost Index (LCI)

The quarterly Labour Cost Index (LCI) shows the short-term development of the total hourly costs incurred by the employers of maintaining their employees. In other words, the LCI measures the cost pressure arising from the production factor 'labour'. The index is available broken down by cost items (wages and salaries component, employers' social contributions) as well as by economic activity.

The LCI covers the economic activities of industry and services (including public administration). The reference year of the index is 2008. In addition to the index numbers, annual and quarterly growth rates of labour cost are also available. The data collection is based on legislation which defines that countries shall transmit the data within 70 days after the end of the reference period to Eurostat.

LCI real time releases since June 2009 (EA16 and EU27).

Annual labour costs data

The annual labour costs data provide information about a selection of labour cost survey core variables: average monthly labour costs and average hourly labour costs as well as the breakdown of labour costs by main categories (gross wages and salaries; employers' social security contributions together with other labour costs). This data collection is based on gentlemen's agreements and data become available approximately 12 months after the end of the reference period.

Labour Cost Surveys (LCS)

Structural information on labour costs is collected through the four-yearly Labour Cost Surveys (LCS), which provide detailed data on structure and level of labour costs, hours worked and hours paid. Data is broken down by economic activity and enterprise size. Regional data according to the NUTS-classification is also available. The reference years of the surveys covered are 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 (next survey: reference year 2012). The LCS cover units with 10 and more employees and all economic activities except agriculture, fishing, public administration, private households and extra-territorial organisations. LCS are based on legislation and data become available approximately 2 years after the end of the reference period.

Additional information on labour costs is also included in national accounts and collected in Structural Business Statistics (SBS), although in far less detail.

Labour market policy

Labour market policy (LMP) statistics provide information on labour market interventions which are defined as "Public interventions in the labour market aimed at reaching its efficient functioning and correcting disequilibria and which can be distinguished from other general employment policy interventions in that they act selectively to favour particular groups in the labour market."

The scope of LMP statistics is limited to public interventions which are explicitly targeted at groups of persons with difficulties in the labour market: the unemployed, persons employed but at risk of involuntary job loss and inactive persons who would like to enter the labour market.

Data on public expenditure and participants (stock and flows) are collected annually from administrative sources. According to the LMP methodology, labour market interventions are classified by type of action.

* LMP services cover all services and activities of the public employment service (PES) together with any other publicly funded services for jobseekers.  
* LMP measures cover activation measures for the unemployed and other target groups including the categories of training, job rotation and job sharing, employment incentives, supported employment and rehabilitation, direct job creation, and start-up incentives.  
* LMP supports cover financial assistance that aims to compensate individuals for loss of wage or salary (out-of-work income maintenance and support, i.e. mostly unemployment benefits) or which facilitates early retirement.  

The quantitative data on expenditure and participants are complemented by a set of qualitative reports which describe each intervention, how it works, the main target groups, etc.

LMP statistics are one of the data sources for monitoring the Employment Guidelines (part II of the Europe 2020 Integrated Guidelines). The guidelines specifically refer to the provision of active labour market policies, which cover LMP measures and LMP services, and adequate social security systems, which include LMP supports.

For the time being, there is no legal basis regulating the production of statistics on LMP; this is done on the basis of a gentlemen's agreement between Eurostat and the Member States. LMP data become available approximately 16-18 months after the end of the reference period.

Labour disputes

These statistics cover stoppages of work caused by labour disputes connected with terms and conditions of employment between employers and workers, or between workers themselves. Stoppages can be the result of strikes or lockouts depending on whether the worker or the employer is responsible.

Methods and definitions regarding the data collection are based on the 'Resolution concerning statistics of strikes, lockouts and other action due to labour disputes', adopted by the Fifteenth International Conference of Labour Statisticians (Geneva, 1993).

Data is published on two main measures of labour disputes: working days lost and workers involved. In order to facilitate cross-country comparisons, rates per 1 000 workers are calculated. The series are characterised by volatility across countries and over time, since they highly depend on a specific political and economic context.

The tables include series for EU aggregates and country level for total of economic activities. Breakdowns by main groupings of economic activity are available at national level.

The data collection is conducted by the International Labour Office (ILO). These data are not published by Eurostat but can be found on the website of the ILO at:


Employment and unemployment
* [Labour Force Survey - methodology][7]  
* [Unemployment - metadata][8] 
Job vacancies
* [Job vacancy annual data - metadata][9]  
* [Job vacancy quarterly data - metadata][10] 
* [Gross Earnings - metadata][11]  
* [Net earnings and related tax rates - metadata][12]  
* [Structure of earnings survey 2010 - implementation arrangements][13]  
* [Structure of earnings survey 2006 - metadata][14]  
* [Structure of earnings survey 2006 - implementation arrangements][15]  
* [Structure of earnings survey 2002 - metadata][16]  
* [Structure of earnings survey 2002 - implementation arrangements][17]  
* [Gender pay gap in unadjusted form - metadata][18]  
* [Minimum wages - metadata][19]   
Labour costs
* [Labour cost index - metadata][20]
* [Labour costs annual data - metadata][21]
* [Labour cost surveys - metadata][22]
* [Labour cost survey 2008 - implementation arrangements][23]
* [Labour cost survey 2004 - implementation arrangements][24] 
Labour market policy
* [Labour market policy - metadata][25]  
* [Labour market policy database - Methodology 2013][26] 
Labour disputes
* [Labour disputes - metadata ][27]
    • Structure of Earnings indicator
      • 0 Annual holidays
    • Size classes in number of employees
      • 0 Total
      • 1 10 employees or more
    • Classification of economic activities - NACE Rev.2
      • 0 Industry, construction and services (except activities of households as employers and extra-territorial organisations and bodies)
      • 1 Industry, construction and services (except public administration, defense, compulsory social security)
      • 2 Business economy
      • 3 Industry and construction
      • 4 Industry (except construction)
      • 5 Mining and quarrying
      • 6 Manufacturing
      • 7 Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
      • 8 Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities
      • 9 Construction
      • a Services (except activities of households as employers and extra-territorial organisations and bodies)
      • b Services (except public administration, defense, compulsory social security, activities of households as employers and extra-territorial organisations and bodies)
      • c Wholesale and retail trade; transport; accommodation and food service activities; information and communication
      • d Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles
      • e Transportation and storage
      • f Accommodation and food service activities
      • g Information and communication
      • h Financial and insurance activities; real estate activities; professional, scientific and technical activities; administrative and support service activities
      • i Financial and insurance activities
      • j Real estate activities
      • k Professional, scientific and technical activities
      • l Administrative and support service activities
      • m Public administration and defence; compulsory social security; education; human health and social work activities; arts, entertainment and recreation; other service activities
      • n Public administration and defence; compulsory social security
      • o Education; human health and social work activities; arts, entertainment and recreation; other service activities
      • p Education
      • q Human health and social work activities
      • r Arts, entertainment and recreation
      • s Other service activities
    • Age class
      • 0 Total
      • 1 Less than 30 years
      • 2 From 30 to 39 years
      • 3 From 40 to 49 years
      • 4 From 50 to 59 years
      • 5 60 years or over
    • Sex
      • 0 Total
      • 1 Males
      • 2 Females
    • Geopolitical entity (reporting)
      • 00 European Union (28 countries)
      • 01 European Union (27 countries)
      • 02 European Union (25 countries)
      • 03 European Union (15 countries)
      • 04 Euro area (17 countries)
      • 05 Euro area (16 countries)
      • 06 Euro area (13 countries)
      • 07 Belgium
      • 08 Bulgaria
      • 09 Czech Republic
      • 0a Denmark
      • 0b Germany (until 1990 former territory of the FRG)
      • 0c Estonia
      • 0d Ireland
      • 0e Greece
      • 0f Spain
      • 0g France
      • 0h Croatia
      • 0i Italy
      • 0j Cyprus
      • 0k Latvia
      • 0l Lithuania
      • 0m Luxembourg
      • 0n Hungary
      • 0o Malta
      • 0p Netherlands
      • 0q Austria
      • 0r Poland
      • 0s Portugal
      • 0t Romania
      • 0u Slovenia
      • 0v Slovakia
      • 0w Finland
      • 0x Sweden
      • 0y United Kingdom
      • 0z Iceland
      • 10 Norway
      • 11 Switzerland
      • 12 Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the
      • 13 Turkey