Wage increases fall despite low unemployment

Wage increases in Denmark are showing a downward trend in spite of historically low unemployment figures and prospects of a considerable growth in exports. According to statistics from the DA employers' confederation, pay increased by an average of 3.4% from the second quarter of 1999 to the second quarter of 2000 in the sectors covered by DA and the LO trade union confederation.

New wage figures for the second quarter of 2000, presented by the Danish Employers' Confederation (Dansk Arbejdsgiverforening, DA) on 14 August 2000, reveal that the rate of wage increases is falling in spite of a historically low level of unemployment and a strong growth in exports (according to an economic forecast published at the same time by the Confederation of Danish Industries (Dansk Industri, DI)). On average, wages increased by 3.4% from the second quarter of 1999 to the second quarter of 2000 in the sectors covered by agreements between organisations affiliated to the DA and the Confederation of Danish Trade Unions (Landsorganisationen i Danmark, LO). The figures were welcomed by economists and business groups .

The pay of white-collar workers rose by 3.3% from the second quarter of 1999 to the second quarter of 2000, while blue-collar workers' pay increased by 3.5%. For both groups, the rate of wage increase was down slightly on the figures for the year to the first quarter of 2000, according to DA's wage statistics. In the manufacturing industries, pay increased by 3.8% over the year to the second quarter, while the rate of wage increase in the building and construction sector fell to 2.9% and in the services sector to 3.0%. According to DA statistics, the total labour costs of enterprises increased by 3.5% from the second quarter of 1999 to the second quarter of 2000.

DI economists are very satisfied, although the overall rate of wage increase in industry is slightly increasing. This is offset by diminishing wage growth in the building sector and in services, so that the average increase for the entire LO/DA field is falling. The figures from DA show that the biggest wage increases are found in the plastics, chemicals and textiles/clothing industries, where pay rose by about 4.5% in the year to the second quarter of 2000.

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