Labour costs fall 0.1pc in first quarter
THE cost of employing staff dropped fractionally within OECD countries in the first three months of the year.
Unit labour costs (ULC) dropped 0.1pc compared with a rise of 1.1pc in the fourth quarter of 2012. But the figures for Ireland were not available.
This was driven in part by increased productivity.
Within the OECD area, the pattern of quarter-on-quarter growth in ULCs remained mixed.
ULCs continued to grow in the euro area at 0.6pc, yet they dropped significantly in the United States compared with the final three months of last year.
"Within the euro area, the rebalancing process that has been noticeable in some countries since 2009 showed signs of slowing in the first quarter of 2013," the OECD said.
In Portugal, costs fell by 2.4pc, but rose 2.2pc in Spain for the first time in three years.
ULC growth in Germany slowed to 0.4pc but rose in Italy and France. ULCs measure the average cost of labour per unit of output.