Estonian salaries grew 6 pct per year

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2015, the average monthly gross income per employee was 1013 euros. The increase continued at the same rate as in the previous years, i.e., at 6% per year.

In 2015 compared to the previous year, the increase in gross income was fastest in Jõgeva, Lääne, Viljandi, Võru and Põlva county (7% increase). In other counties, gross income increased 6%, except for in Ida-Viru county where the increase was 5%.

The average monthly gross income exceeded 900 euros in 8 counties and it exceeded 1,000 euros in Harju, Tartu and Hiiu county. In the other counties, the gross income was lower. In the past years, the gross income has been lowest in two counties: Ida-Viru (in 2004–2009) and Valga county (2010–2014). In 2015, the lowest gross income was earned yet again in Ida-Viru county (847 euros).

Among local government units, the average monthly gross income per employee was highest in the rural municipalities of Harju county. For years now, the highest gross income there is earned in Viimsi rural municipality, where the average monthly gross income per employee was 1,442 euros in 2015. In the capital, Tallinn, the monthly gross income in 2015 was nearly 1,100 euros. The gross income was one of the highest also in the rural municipality of Vormsi in Lääne county. On the lower end of the ranking of gross income we find three rural municipalities of Tartu county, where the gross income was below 700 euros per month (the rural municipalities of Piirissaare and Peipsiääre and the city of Kallaste).

Map: Average monthly gross income per employee in local government units, 2015

In 2015, men earned on average 270 euros per month more than women. Although the gross income of men was higher than that of women, the gross income of women increased more compared to the previous year (7% increase for women, 5% for men). In the past years, the difference between the gross incomes of men and women has started to decrease a little, as the gross income of women has increased faster.

In 2015, the number of persons earning gross income did not increase significantly. There were in total 1,630 additional earners of gross income, making the total of gross income recipients a little over 520,000 persons. In most counties, the number of gross income recipients decreased, except for in Harju, Tartu and Pärnu county. The number of gross income recipients decreased mostly for the population aged 24 and under, which was compensated for by an increase in the number of income recipients among the elderly (aged 63 and over). While a year ago, the number of gross income recipients in the younger age group decreased 2% compared to the previous year, the decrease accelerated in 2015, reaching 7%. The number of income recipients aged 24 and under decreased in all counties, while the relevant number among persons aged 63 and over increased in all counties.

Diagram: Young and elderly recipients of gross income, 2003–2015

The analysis is based on the data of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board as at 31 March 2016. The average monthly gross income per employee is calculated by dividing the monthly average sum of disbursements with the monthly average number of persons receiving disbursements.

Source: Statistics Estonia (see better graphs here)

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The volume of aquaculture production sold fell in 2015

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2015, the total amount of commercial fish and crayfish sold by aquaculture enterprises was 795 tonnes, with a total value of 3.3 million euros. Compared to 2014, the amount of fish and crayfish production sold has decreased 8% and the monetary value of production – 3%.

In the last five years, there has been an increase in the volume of aquaculture production sold. Compared to the slump of 2011, the production of aquaculture increased two times in 2015. While in 2014 the volume of aquaculture production sold was at a 20-year high (865 tonnes), the production of 2015 ranked second in terms of volume.

Rainbow trout accounts for the biggest share in the production of aquaculture sold. In 2015, 558 tonnes of rainbow trout was sold, with a total value of 2 million euros. Nevertheless, the share of rainbow trout in aquaculture production has decreased due to several new species having been introduced in fish farms: in the last five years, from 85% to 70%, respectively. The decline in the share of rainbow trout has been influenced by an increase in the sales volumes of promising species like the Arctic char, the African sharptooth catfish, sturgeons (the Siberian and Russian sturgeon) and the wels catfish, but also the European eel and common carp, which have been farmed in Estonia for a long time already. The sale of carps like the grass carp and silver carp has also increased.

In 2015, the European crayfish was sold in the amount of 0.6 tonnes, which is 2.6 times more than in 2014. The monetary value of production sold, however, has not increased at the same rate: the value was 1.6 times higher in 2015 than in 2014.

The amount of caviar sold in 2015 totalled 7.3 tonnes, which is 2.4 times more than in 2014. The value of production almost doubled as well: last year, the value of caviar sold totalled 197,000 euros last year, while in 2014 it was 93,000 euros.

In 2015, 7% of the total production of commercial fish was exported – 8 percentage points less than in 2014. The European eel and (to a lesser extent) sturgeons were the main species exported.

Statistics Estonia collects aquaculture data by surveying all enterprises with the principal or secondary activity of aquaculture. The frame of the surveyed enterprises is compiled based on the register of enterprises recognised by the Estonian Fish Farmers Association and the Veterinary and Food Board, and on the data of the Statistical Profile.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Estonian immigration exceeded emigration in 2015

According to Statistics Estonia, 15,413 persons immigrated to and 13,003 persons emigrated from Estonia in 2015. Net migration was 2,410 and natural increase -1,336, meaning that immigration compensated for the population decrease which occurred due to negative natural increase.

The most active group of external migrants was the group of 20–39-year-olds. In most age groups immigration exceeded emigration with the exception of the age groups of 10–14-year-olds and 25–29-year-olds. The number of men among the migrants exceeded that of women, but net migration indicates that the number of women who remain abroad exceeds that of men.

52% of the immigrants and 69% of the emigrants were citizens of Estonia, therefore the back-and-forth mobility of citizens of Estonia continues to constitute the majority of the external migration. 21% of the immigrants were EU citizens and 27% were citizens of third countries. 15% of the emigrants were EU citizens and 10% were of other citizenship. The EU citizens that immigrated were younger than the immigrants that were of Estonian or other citizenship, which, in the case of citizens of Estonia could be explained by the fact that they were mostly returning migrants. Of the citizenships that were most represented in external migration, the only number to decrease as a result of net migration was that of Estonian citizens. The increase was biggest for the persons holding citizenship of a third country. As a result of external migration, the biggest foreign citizenship groups that remained in Estonia were those of Ukraine, Russia and Finland. The immigration and emigration of EU citizens and people with undetermined citizenship balanced each other out.

Most of the persons whose migration country is known have gone to Finland or come from there. The main destination countries include other highly developed European countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany. The main source countries of immigration are, in addition to Finland, also Ukraine and Russia. By birth country, 49% of the immigrants are from Estonia, 11% from Russia and 8% from Ukraine. 68% of the emigrants were born in Estonia, 9% in Russia and 4% in Finland.Diagram: Immigration by citizenship, 2015

Diagram: Emigration by citizenship, 2015

As of 2016, Statistics Estonia calculates external migration based on the residency index: a person’s transition from resident to non-resident is emigration and the opposite is immigration (when it is not the case of birth or death). As a result, migration flows have increased and this must be taken into account when comparing 2015 migration data to that of previous years. As a result of the changes, the Estonian external migration reflects reality more accurately; however, the country of origin and destination of many immigrants and emigrants remains unknown.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Estonian average salary is 1,091 euros

According to Statistics Estonia, in the 1st quarter of 2016, the average monthly gross wages and salaries were 1,091 euros and the average hourly gross wages and salaries were 6.86 euros. Compared to the 1st quarter of 2015, the average monthly gross wages and salaries increased by 8.1% and the average hourly gross wages and salaries by 7.7%. In the 1st quarter, the average annual growth of monthly gross wages and salaries was slightly faster than in the 4th quarter of 2015.

The increase of wages and salaries was mainly due to the irregular bonuses and premiums, which increased 32.5% per employee compared to the 1st quarter of 2015 and which affected the increase in average gross monthly wages and salaries by 0.8 percentage points. Without irregular bonuses and premiums, the average monthly gross wages and salaries increased by 7.2% in the 1st quarter. Additionally, minimum wages increased from 390 euros to 430 euros at the beginning of the year.

Real wages, which take into account the influence of the change in the consumer price index, increased faster than the average monthly gross wages and salaries (8.5%) in the 1st quarter of 2016 compared to the 1st quarter of 2015 due to the continued decrease in consumer prices. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, real wages have been increasing since the second half of 2011.

The average gross monthly and hourly wages and salaries increased in the 1st quarter of 2016 in almost all economic activities, except in other service activities. The largest increase of monthly and hourly wages and salaries occurred in administrative and support service activities, accommodation and food service activities and in information and communication activities. Private sector was the growth driver of wages and salaries in the 1st quarter, with the annual gross wages and salaries increase of 8.8%.

According to the Wages and Salaries Statistics Survey, the number of employees converted to full-time units decreased by 1.3% compared to the 1st quarter of 2015. The largest decrease occurred in activities with wages and salaries lower than the average monthly gross wages and salaries – in real estate activities and in other service activities.

The average monthly gross wages and salaries were 1,067 euros in January, 1,058 euros in February and 1,148 euros in March.

In the 1st quarter of 2016, the average monthly labour costs per employee were 1,476 euros and the hourly labour costs were 9.75 euros, which have increased 8.5% and 8.3% respectively, compared to the 1st quarter of 2015.

Average monthly gross wages and salaries and their change compared to the same quarter of the previous year, 1st quarter 2014 – 1st quarter 2016
Year Quarter Average gross wages and salaries, euros Change compared to the same quarter of the previous year, %
2016 I 1091 8,1
2015 I 1010 4,5
II 1082 5,8
III 1045 6,9
IV 1105 6,4
2014 I 966 7,3
II 1023 4,8
III 977 5,0
IV 1039 5,3

Diagram: Average monthly gross wages and salaries

Statistics Estonia conducts the Wages and Salaries Statistics Survey on the basis of an international methodology since 1992. In 2016, the sample includes 12,350 enterprises, institutions and organisations. The average monthly gross wages and salaries have been given in full time units to enable a comparison of different wages and salaries, irrespective of the length of working time. Calculations of the monthly gross wages and salaries are based on payments for actually worked time and remuneration for time not worked. The hourly gross wages and salaries do not include remuneration for time not worked (holiday leave pay, benefits, etc.). In short-term statistics, the average gross wages and salaries are measured as a component of labour costs. Labour costs include gross wages and salaries, employer’s contributions and employer’s imputed social contributions to employees.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Purchasing power increased by almost 10 pct

• Wage growth accelerated further in the first quarter.
• A surge in purchasing power supports consumption but hurts enterprises’ profitability.

In the 1st quarter of 2016, the average monthly gross wage was 1,091 euros in Estonia, up by 8.1% over the year. Net average wage grew even faster, by 8.7% in real terms, due to a decline in consumer prices and a higher tax free income. The growth of gross wages will probably remain fast in the remaining months of the year.

The rapid growth in average wage is supported by a lack of suitable labour, a 10% increase in minimum wage, a political agreement to raise the wages of teachers and healthcare workers, and strong domestic consumption that lifts the sales of enterprises selling their products and services in the domestic market. A surge in irregular bonuses and premiums (+32.5% per employee over the year) added 0.8 percentage point to average gross wage growth. Irregular bonuses and premiums increased substantially among the enterprises of real estate activities and labour rental companies.

Average gross wage increased in almost all sectors. Wage growth was fast at both ends of the wage spectrum: in the sectors of lower wages like tourism, entertainment, and real estate activities, but also at the other end of the wage scale like finance and IT. Lower oil prices resulted in a lower wage growth in the sectors of energy and mining.

Rapid wage growth supports economic growth while exports remain weak. In the first quarter of 2016, retail sales volumes increased by 6%, while the volumes of exports of goods decreased by 2%, over the year. In the longer term, too fast growth of wages increases macroeconomic risks as too fast growth in unit labour costs could result in lower exports, investments and profitability, which means smaller buffers for potential negative shocks.

Source: Swedbank

Estonian museums were visited 3.3 million times in 2015

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2015, Estonian museums were visited 3.3 million times, which is 4% less than a year before. The number of museums remained unchanged compared to 2014.

In 2015, Estonian museums were visited by 498,770 inhabitants of Estonia aged 15 or over, meaning that one museum visitor made an average of three visits per year.

There were 2,476 museum visits per 1,000 inhabitants in Estonia in 2015 and despite the fall in the number of visits, according to, Estonia stands out as one of the European countries with the most active museum visitors. Children in Estonia visit museums diligently as well: children under 9 years old went to museums 235,000 times in 2015.

Among Estonian residents aged 15 or over, 56% of the museum visitors were women, and people in the age group 30–39 visited museums the most frequently. Foreign tourists constituted 35% of the total number of visitors. Personal development was deemed the main reason for visiting museums.

The number of museums has remained unchanged since 2013. In 2015, there were 256 active museums in Estonia. The number of exhibitions, however, has declined – while there were1,795 exhibitions in 2014, then 1,753 exhibitions were held last year.

Museums employed 1,733 people, which is 136 persons fewer than in 2014. Despite the drop in the number of employees, 19% more scholarly articles were published in 2015 than a year earlier.

On Saturday, 14 May, Estonia once again celebrates the European Night of Museums. For this year’s event, museums have chosen the umbrella theme “Waves in the Night”. More information is available at In 141 days, on 1 October 2016, the Estonian National Museum will be reopened for exhibitions and this will surely impact on this year’s statistics on museum attendance.

Source: Statistics Estonia

The current account deficit widened in March

The flash estimate1 put the Estonian current account at 58 million euros in deficit in March 2016. The increase in the deficit was driven most by the widening of the deficit on the goods account to 114 million euros. Exports of goods were 0.4% down on a year earlier, while imports were up 1.8% over the same period. Although the surplus on the services account increased by 22% over the year to 105 million euros, it was not enough to compensate for the deficit on the goods account, and the balance of goods and services was negative by 10 million euros. The net outflow of investment income and other income in the primary and secondary income account was 49 million euros in March, which is 7 million euros more than in March last year. The main reason for this was an increased outflow of direct investment income. Several dividends were announced in March, which left reinvested income below its usual level.

Despite the positive balance on the capital account, the total of the current and capital accounts was negative in March. This means that the Estonian economy was a net borrower from the rest of the world, so the country as a whole received more funds from abroad than it invested there.

Eesti Pank is publishing the flash estimate of the balance of payments monthly for the last month but one. Eesti Pank will publish the balance of payments for the first quarter of 2016 on 9 June 2016.

See a better graph at the Bank of Estonia website


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