Labour cost index

Producer: Statistics Finland
Main topic: Wages, Salaries and Labour Costs
Related topics: Labour Market
Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Yes
European Statistical System (ESS): Yes


The labour cost index measures the quarterly change in average labour costs per hour worked. The statistics cover almost the whole private sector as well as the central government and local government sectors. Excluded from the statistics are agriculture, forestry and fishing. Within the local government sector, data on education are not so far included in the statistics. In addition to the actual labour cost index, the labour cost index includes three complementing indices: the index of wage costs, the index of social costs and the labour cost index without one-off and extraordinary cost components.

Data content

The labour cost index is formed from the separately calculated indices of wage costs and social costs. The index of wage costs covers all pay and bonuses paid in accordance with Section 13 of the preliminary tax withholding act. The index thus also includes costs incurred from benefits in kind and incentive stock options. The index of social costs covers the enterprise's all statutory and voluntary social insurance contributions. The change in them is measured on the basis of tariffs. Thus the time of payment or possible refunds of payments have no effect on the development of the index of social costs. One-off and extraordinary cost components include all those pay components not comprised in earnings paid for each pay period. Such components are typically performance-based bonuses, holiday bonus, holiday supplement, seniority increments paid in hourly paid fields not included in earnings for hours worked and costs raised by incentive stock options and contractual pay increases paid retrospectively from previous pay periods.

Classifications used

Standard Industrial Classification (TOL 2008).

Data collection methods and data sources

Since 2007, the basic data of the statistics for the private sector have been collected with a sample comprising more than 2,000 enterprises. Data for the central government sector cover the whole sector. Data for the local government sector have been collected from the municipalities of the Greater Helsinki region during the years 2008 to 2010. In 2011 data were collected from the largest municipalities with over 50,000 population and the biggest joint municipal authorities. In 2012 the inquiry was expanded to municipalities with over 5,000 inhabitants and all joint municipal authorities with over 800 employees.

The inquiry concerns the whole paid personnel of the enterprise, government agency, municipality or joint municipal authority. The sampling frame was formed from Statistics Finland's Business Register. Enterprises employing at least 30 persons are generally selected to the frame. However, in industries (TOL 2008) dominated by small enterprises, such as construction (F), wholesale and retail trade (G), hotel and restaurant activities (I), real estate activities (L), professional, scientific and technical activities (M), and administrative and support services (N), enterprises employing at least 20 persons are included in the sample.

Data collections

Updating frequency

The statistics are compiled quarterly.

Time of completion or release

Preliminary data on the labour force index are released 70 days from the end of the latest quarter. In addition, the results of the index are published in the annual joint publication Wages, salaries and labour costs. The results of the labour cost index are released as preliminary and the new indices can be revised, if needed.

Time series

The labour cost index 2008=100 has been calculated from 2007 onwards from private sector industries. Indices for the central government and local government sector have been calculated from 2008 onwards and they depict the industries total. The local government sector does not include education.


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Contact information

Additional information

The Office for the Government as Employer yearly prepares a corresponding survey on labour costs in central government. The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy has studied labour costs in the manufacturing industry from the late 1940s up to 1992.

Last updated 21.05.2015