The index of wage and salary earnings describes quarterly development in wage and salary earners’ average earnings for regular working hours by sector, industry and wage and salary earner group. Taxes and employee social security contributions are not deducted from average earnings. In addition, the index of wage and salary earnings data are used to calculate average data by employer sector and industry.
The development of wages and salaries is an indicator that essentially describes the nature of the labour market. As a result, growth of wages and incomes largely also reflects the prospects for the overall development of society. The development of the income level of wage earners has an impact on the activities of different sectors of society, such as the vitality of commerce and business, price increases and thereby the level of households’ purchasing power, and more widely the development of national interest rates and debt. Via spill-over effects, the development of wage earners’ incomes is reflected in the level of public sector social expenditure and through livelihood and income differences in the socio-economic position of citizens.
Alongside the development of wage earners’ nominal earnings, the development of citizens’ and households’ real incomes and earnings should be examined more widely. A broader perspective involves an examination of the development of wages and salaries relative to the rise in inflation and living costs, thereby shedding more light on the development of citizens’ living standards and livelihood. The level of wages and salaries should grow in proportion to the rise in living costs. In wage development, it is also important to examine how earnings vary between the private and public sectors and how the changing structures of the economy are reflected in the development of wages and salaries. In addition to wage levels, the development of the proportion of wage earners in society should also be analysed. The development of wages and incomes must also be viewed as an equality issue, highlighting wage differences between the genders and different sectors of society.