Romania’s average net monthly earnings rose by 12.5 percent year-on-year in December 2018 up to RON 2,957 (EUR 636) on end-year bonuses, National Institute of Statistics (INS) data showed on Monday.
The average net monthly earnings rose by 5.9 percent month-to-month, from RON 2,792 (EUR 600) in November.
Real wages increased by only 8.9 percent between December 2017 and December 2018, due to high inflation rate (3.3 percent in December, year-on-year).
The gross average monthly earnings increased to RON 4,938 (EUR 1,061) in December, up from RON 4,658 (EUR 1,002) in November.
Since the beginning of last year, the social security contribution and the social health insurance contribution paid by the employer were transferred to the employee in Romania, and the effect was a sudden surge of the gross wages in January 2018.
The highest net monthly earnings were recorded in December in the IT sector (RON 6,888, EUR 1,480), and the lowest in accommodation and food service activities (RON 1,657, EUR 356).
Romania has the second lowest average wage among the European Union member states, after Bulgaria.
However, following the rapid increase in earnings registered during the last couple of years, Romania is now close to Hungary or Latvia in terms of average net earnings.
A recent BR Analysis showed that the highest wages in Romania are in Bucharest and four counties (Cluj, Sibiu, Ilfov and Timis), exceeding EUR 600 per month on average, while in almost half of the country, the average net earnings are bellow.
The high wages are concentrated in only five areas of Romania: the Capital city and its surroundings (Bucharest-Ilfov), the three major regional centers from Transylvania, Banat and Moldova provinces (Cluj, Timisoara and Iasi) and Southern Transylvania (the highly urbanized and industrialized counties of Sibiu and Brasov).
At the opposite end of the scale, in 19 out of the 42 counties of Romania (including Bucharest), net monthly average earnings are still below EUR 500.