Bisher bezog sich die Arbeitskostenanalyse des WIFO auf die Daten der Industrie. In der vorliegenden Arbeit wird die gesamte
Sachgütererzeugung (Industrie und Gewerbe) berücksichtigt. Dadurch sind die durchschnittlichen Kosten der Arbeiterstunde im
Jahr 1998 mit 256,8 S um 20 S niedriger als gemäß dem Bericht aus dem Vorjahr. Hatte sich die internationale Lohnstückkostenposition
Österreichs nach einer Verschlechterung in der ersten Hälfte der neunziger Jahre 1996 und 1997 deutlich verbessert, so verlor
Österreich 1998 leicht an Boden. Die Lohnstückkosten der Sachgütererzeugung Österreichs sanken wohl um 0,7%, im gewichteten
Durchschnitt der Handelspartner verringerten sie sich aber um 1,2%.
Keywords:1998 leichter Anstieg der relativen Lohnstückkosten in der Sachgütererzeugung; Slight Rise in the Manufacturing Industry's
Relative Unit Labour Costs in 1998
Research group:Labour Market, Income and Social Security
Slight Rise in the Manufacturing Industry's Relative Unit Labour Costs in 1998
Austria ranks ninth in the international hierarchy of labour costs. Labour is most expensive in Germany, even when including
Eastern Germany – one working hour in German manufacturing costs 27 percent more than in Austria (+21 percent in Switzerland).
The U.S. and French manufacturing industries pay about 10 percent less; the rate is lower by some 15 percent in Italy, Japan
and the U.K. WIFO previously analysed the competitive standing of Austria's economy on the basis of labour cost and productivity
data obtained from the Austrian industry. As a consequence of statistics being harmonised with the EU system, data from the
SME sector are now available as well. In order to facilitate comparison with other countries, WIFO has included SME data in
its analysis which now comprises the entire manufacturing sector. Based on the new method, i.e., including SME data, the cost
of one working hour in manufacturing is lower by 8 percent than in industry, amounting to ATS 256.80 in 1998. Of this, ATS
135.00 was paid in direct compensation for work, and ATS 122.00 were non-wage labour costs, so that non-wage labour costs
amounted to 90.4 percent in manufacturing. Austrian businesses have found their price-driven competitive position to change
repeatedly over the 1990s. In the first half of the decade, the labour cost position of Austrian industry deteriorated by
almost 3 percent mainly as a consequence of the gain of the schilling in the train of the EMS crisis; but relative unit labour
costs then declined in 1996 and 1997 as a result of substantial gains in productivity and the recovery of some major euro
currencies by 5 percent. In 1998, Austrian manufacturing was once again faced with a dent in its labour cost position. Relative
unit labour costs rose by 0.4 percent over the average of its trading partners and the EU, and by 1.4 percent vis-à-vis Germany.
The main cause was the modest pace of productivity growth in Austria: employment responded tardily to the upswing of 1997,
so that manufacturing jobs still grew by about 1 percent in 1998 even though the recovery slowed down and production growth
was checked in the wake of the crisis in South-East Asia.