15 March 2024

Quarterly Labour Cost Survey (QLCS)

Fourth Quarter 2023

Main results

  • The labour cost of companies increased to 5.0% compared to the same period of the previous year and stood at 3,145.99 per worker per month. The wage cost increased by 4.0%.
  • With calendar-adjusted and deseasonalised results, the labour cost per worker increased by 5.2% annually and 1.0% quarterly.
  • The number of vacancies was 139,314 this quarter.

The labour cost increased by 5.0% in the fourth quarter compared to the same period of 2022, to 3,145.99 euros per worker per month. The wage cost increased by 4.0% to 2,359.38 euros, and other costs by 8.0%. Mandatory Social Security contributions, the main component of other costs, increased by 7.0%.

Total labour cost. Fourth quarter 2023

Annual variation rate. Percentage

Monthly labour cost per employee. Fourth quarter 2023

1Compared to the same quarter of the previous year

Hourly labour cost. Fourth quarter 2023

1Compared to the same quarter of the previous year

Series adjusted for seasonal and calendar effects

The labour cost per worker, excluding seasonal and calendar effects, increased by 5.2% this quarter compared to the same period of the previous year, and 1.0% compared to the previous quarter.

Labour cost per worker

Adjusted for seasonal and calendar effects. Percentage

Labour cost by activity sector

By sections of activity, the labour cost is highest in Administrative activities and auxiliary services, and Information and communications. In contrast, the cost decreases in Supplies of electrical energy, gas, steam and air conditioning.

Monthly labour cost per employee. Fourth quarter 2023

Labour cost by Autonomous Community

Illes Balears, Aragón and Cataluña saw the highest increases in labour cost this quarter.

On the other hand, Extremadura, País Vasco and Región de Murcia had the smallest increases.

Job vacancies

The number of vacancies stood at 139,314 in the fourth quarter, 1,203 less than in the same quarter of the previous year.

Total vacancies. Fourth quarter 2023

88.8% of vacancies were found in the Services sector this quarter.

Vacancies by sector. Fourth quarter 2023

The Autonomous Communities registering the greatest number of vacancies were Comunidad de Madrid, Cataluña and Andalucía. In turn, those recording the lowest number were Cantabria, La Rioja and Extremadura.

Revision and updating of data

The data published today are final. All results are available on INEbase.

Methodological note

The Quarterly Labour Cost Survey (ETCL) primarily aims to understand the evolution of the average labour cost per worker per month, the average labour cost per effective working hour, and time worked and not worked. 

Furthermore, it is the primary source of information for the development of the Harmonised Labour Cost Index, which is part of the euro-indicators of the Statistical Office of the European Union (EUROSTAT).

Type of operation:
quarterly continuous survey.
Base year:
Population scope:
Social Security contribution accounts. General Scheme: Sections B to S of CNAE-09 and Special Scheme for Seafarers: Sea Transport (Division 50 of CNAE-09).
Geographical scope:
the entire national territory.
Reference period of the results:
the calendar quarter.
Reference period of the information:
the calendar month.
Sample size:
28,500 establishments, divided into three monthly sub-samples of 9,500 establishments each.
Sampling type:
stratified random with optimal allocation. Comprehensive survey for workplaces with more than 500 employees.
Collection method:
questionnaire filled in directly by the establishment.

More information on the methodology and the standardised methodological report.

INE statistics are produced in accordance with the Code of Good Practice for European Statistics. More information on Quality at INE and Code of Best Practices.

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