Double-digit wage bill increase. Romania’s wage growth rate speeds up in January on higher state employees’ earnings

Sorin Melenciuc 13/03/2019 | 10:37

Romania’s wage growth rate has accelerated in January as the government increased the earnings of its employees since the beginning of this year, despite severe budgetary constraints.

Romania’s average net monthly earnings rose by 18.2 percent year-on-year in January 2019 – compared with 12.5 percent in December 2018 – up to RON 2,936 (EUR 618), National Institute of Statistics (INS) data showed on Wednesday.

The highest wage increases were concentrated in January in the public sector, while most of employees in the private sector have earned less in January compared with December – when many employers in Romania usually pay end-year bonuses.

The average net monthly earnings declined by 0.7 percent month-on-month, from RON 2,957 (EUR 636) in December.

Real wages increased by 14.4 percent between January 2018 and January 2019, due to high inflation rate (3.3 percent in January, year-on-year).

The gross average monthly earnings declined to RON 4,837 (EUR 1,018) in January, up from RON 4,938 (EUR 1,061) in December.

The highest net monthly earnings were recorded in January in the IT sector (RON 6,768, EUR 1,424), and the lowest in textile industry (RON 1,718, EUR 362).

The government has increased the minimum gross wage in Romania from RON 1,900 to RON 2,080.

Romania has the second lowest average wage among the European Union member states, after Bulgaria.

The total amount of wages paid by the Romanian employers rose last year by 17 percent compared with 2017, up to EUR 80.3 billion, an all-time high, mainly due to minimum wage and public sector wages’ increases.

In 2017, the amount of wages was EUR 68.5 billion, and this means that the total wage bill rose by almost EUR 12 billion last year, according to BR calculations based on Eurostat data.

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