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International Labour Cost Indices

The purpose of publishing the international labour cost indices is to compare trends in earnings and other labour costs in the private sector in Denmark with trends in the EU countries and the US. The figures for the EU countries are collected from EU’s statistical office, Eurostat, which publishes the figures on their homepage on a quarterly basis. Eurostat collects information from each member state’s national statistical institution. The U.S. figures are collected by the U.S. Department of Labour, Bureau of Labor Statistics, which publishes their figures on their own homepage.

The international labour cost indices are not directly comparable with the national indices of average earnings.

Statistical presentation

The indices are published on a quarterly basis to show developments of the Danish and other countries labour costs in an international setting. The figures from EU member countries are based on EU-harmonized regulations. It is expected that the harmonization will extend gradually over time. The numbers are not fully comparable to the Danish national indices of average earnings, which are collected and published quarterly. The international labour cost indices are exclusively published in Statistics Denmark’s quarterly news release NYT fra Danmarks Statistik entitled International Labour Costs, and where the EU-figures are collected from Eurostat database while the US figures stems from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) database.

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Statistical processing

Data is collected from different sources where the data already has gone through statistical processing before being published.

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The indices are used to compare and analyze how the Danish labour costs perform in an international setting, as it is an important indicator of the state of play of the Danish competitiveness compared to other countries. The statistics are therefore often mentioned in the daily news press and are often an important feature in the national public debate.

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Accuracy and reliability

As the methods used for collection and production of the indices differ in all the countries included in the international labour cost indices, it is only possible to make any conclusions on the accuracy and reliability of the Danish index.

In general the reliability of the Danish labour cost index is, due to the size of the sample and the thorough search for errors which is performed, considered to be quite good. This is especially true in the case of the indices on the more aggregate level, such as for the whole business economy or the largest sectors of economic activity. For the smaller sectors of economic activity, the reliability is for natural reasons lower.

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Timeliness and punctuality

The indices are normally published without any delay approximately 80 days after the turn of the quarter being measured. However the dissemination regarding 4th quarter 2019 was delayed due to lacking data on holiday payments, resulting from the transition period in implementing the Danish Holiday Act 2020. Please refer to the description of other uncertainties under S.13.3.

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In 2008 Eurostat changed from using Industry Classification NACE Rev. 1.2 to NACE Rev. 2. Because of this, there is a slight change in the data belonging to the the private sector starting from 2008, which was also conveyed in the publications of the statistics. Before this change, the data included the class of industries C-F according to NACE Rev. 1.2. After the change, the sectors of economic activity covered are B-N according to NACE Rev. 2.

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Accessibility and clarity

The indices are only published in Statistics Denmark's news release NYT. The international figures are not available in the Statbank. The figures and other information can instead be found on Eurostat's or BLS' homepages or databases.

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