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Real wages increased in most UNECE countries in 2014

Of the 37 UNECE member countries that reported average monthly wages and annual consumer price indices for 2013 and 2014, 32 saw an increase in real wages in 2014. Real wages only decreased in the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Ukraine in this period. With the exception of Ukraine, the decreases in these countries were quite modest – around 1% or less. By far the largest increase was reported by Tajikistan, where real wages increased by 11%.

Large increases in nominal wages (in national currency) did not always translate to large increases in real wages, since some countries also experienced high inflation in 2014. For instance, average monthly wages in Ukraine increased by 6% from 2013 to 2014 in nominal terms, but in fact decreased by 5% in real terms. Similarly, in Belarus nominal wages increased by 19%, but real wages remained flat. Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and the Republic of Moldova experienced large increases in nominal wages that translated to more modest increases in real wages.

For other countries, moderate deflation in 2014 meant that changes in wages were actually more favorable in real terms than they were in nominal terms. This was the case in Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Bulgaria, for example.

Percent difference in average monthly wages from 2013 to 2014 (selected UNECE countries)

Source:  UNECE Statistical database www.unece.org/stats/data