According to a report by ECO, over the past three years, labour costs per unit produced have increased in most countries. This happens when workers' compensation (wages and other compensation) in nominal terms registers a growth above the increase in productivity.
This is the case of Portugal, which between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of this year registered a 19.2% increase in labour costs per production, about 1.2 times above the average the OECD.
Among the 29 OECD countries with data on this matter, only Ireland had a drop in labour costs per wealth generated over the last three years. In the opposite direction is Lithuania which, in the last three years, has registered a growth of almost 40% in labour costs.
However, when inflation is considered for calculation purposes, Portugal jumps to the front of the pack, showing the highest real increase in labour costs per unit produced in the last three years among OECD countries.
According to OECD data, the real cost of labour per unit produced in Portugal rose by 4.9% between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of this year, while on average for OECD countries there was a real decrease of 1.1% of labour costs.
“We are the country in Europe where the minimum wage is closest to the average wage”, recalls João Cerejeira, professor at the University of Minho, also noting that Portugal is one of the countries where the “minimum wage has risen the most in recent years”.