The income of employees increased in all counties last year

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2013, the average monthly gross income per employee was 900 euros. Compared to 2012, the average gross income increased in all counties.

The average monthly gross income was higher than the Estonian average in Harju and Tartu counties, and the lowest in Valga county (746 euros). In recent years, the indicator for Harju county (which has the highest gross income) has been slightly over 10% higher than the Estonian average, while the indicator for Valga county (which has the lowest gross income) has been about 15% below the Estonian average.

Among cities and rural municipalities, the highest monthly income was earned by employees in Harju county. The monthly gross income was the highest in Viimsi rural municipality (1,293 euros) and the lowest in Kallaste city and Peipsiääre rural municipality (slightly over 630 euros). The difference between the local government units with the highest and the lowest gross income has decreased in recent years – it was 55% in 2012 and 51% in 2013. In Tallinn, the average monthly gross income per employee was 985 euros.

In 2013 gross income was earned by 509,323 persons, which is 4,600 more than the year before. This growth is mainly the result of the 6% increase in the number of earners aged 63 and older. The number of income recipients grew the most in Harju county, followed by Tartu and Ida-Viru counties. The number of income recipients decreased in Järva, Saare, Lääne and Lääne-Viru counties.

Average monthly gross income per employee in local government units, 2013

Map: Average monthly gross income per employee in local government units, 2013

The analysis is based on the data of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board as at 31 March 2014. 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

Estonian average salary was 949 euros in 2013

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2013, the average monthly gross wages and salaries were 949 euros and the average hourly gross wages and salaries were 5.73 euros. Compared to 2012, the average monthly gross wages and salaries increased 7.0% and the average hourly gross wages and salaries increased 7.3%.

Real wages, which take into account the influence of the change in the consumer price index, increased 4.1% in 2013. After the fall in 2009 and 2010, real wages increased for the third year in a row compared to the previous year.

The average monthly gross wages and salaries without irregular bonuses and premiums increased 6.9%. Compared to 2012, irregular bonuses and premiums increased 9.2% and influenced the rise in average monthly gross wages by 0.1 percentage points.

Compared to 2012, the average monthly and hourly gross wages and salaries increased the most in agriculture, forestry and fishing – by 11.0% and 15.9%, respectively. The average monthly and hourly gross wages and salaries decreased the most in arts, entrainment and recreation – by 1.9% and 3.4%, respectively.

In 2013 the employer’s average monthly labour costs per employee were 1,284 euros and the average hourly labour costs were 8.56 euros. Compared to 2012, the average monthly labour costs per employee increased by 6.7% and the average hourly labour costs by 7.2%.

In 2013 the average monthly labour costs per employee increased the most in mining and quarrying (10.6%) and the average hourly labour costs increased the most in agriculture, forestry and fishing (15.5%). The average monthly labour costs per employee and hourly labour costs decreased the most in professional, scientific and technical activities (by 2.3% and 2.6%, respectively).

In 2013 the average monthly and hourly gross wages and salaries increased in all counties and also in case of all kinds of owners. The average monthly gross wages and salaries were 967 euros in the public sector and 942 euros in the private sector. Compared to 2012, the average monthly gross wages and salaries increased by 7.9% in the public sector and by 6.7% in the private sector. The public sector includes companies owned by the state or local government.

Statistics Estonia conducts the Wages and Salaries Statistics Survey on the basis of an international methodology since 1992. In 2013 the sample included 11,592 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.

The data on the average monthly gross income per employee published by Statistics Estonia on 12 June 2014 were based on the Estonian Tax and Customs Board’s data on disbursements, which do not take into account the length of working time (full-time or part-time employees) and the number of hours worked. Statistics Estonia publishes the data on average monthly gross income per employee in order to allow a comparison of local government units, as the data on average monthly gross wages and salaries do not allow such comparisons.

Average monthly gross wages and salaries,
1st quarter 2009 – 4th quarter 2013 (euros)
Year 1st quarter 2nd quarter 3rd quarter 4th quarter
2009 784 776 813 752 783
2010 792 758 822 759 814
2011 839 792 857 809 865
2012 887 847 900 855 916
2013 949 900 976 930 986

Average monthly gross wages and salaries and monthly labour costs per employee, 2013

Diagram: Average monthly gross wages and salaries and monthly labour costs per employee, 2013

Average hourly gross wages and salaries and hourly labour costs, 2013

Diagram: Average hourly gross wages and salaries and hourly labour costs, 2013

 

 

Source: Statistics Estonia

The dwelling price index increased in the 1st Q

According to Statistics Estonia, in the 1st quarter of 2014, the Dwelling Price Index changed by 4.8% compared to the 4th quarter of 2013 and by 17.5% compared to the 1st quarter of the previous year.

Compared to the previous quarter, the prices of apartments increased by 6.8% and the prices of houses decreased by 0.1%.

Compared to the 1st quarter of 2013, the prices of apartments have increased by 20.5% and the prices of houses by 9.9%. The prices of apartments increased in all three areas under observation: by 21.5% in Tallinn, by 21.1% in areas bordering Tallinn with Tartu and Pärnu cities and by 13.2% in the rest of Estonia.

Compared to the 4th quarter of the previous year, the price index of apartments increased by 5.9% in Tallinn, by 5.6% in areas bordering Tallinn with Tartu and Pärnu cities and by 13.9% in the rest of Estonia.
The Dwelling Price Index expresses the changes in the square metre prices of dwellings purchased by households. The Dwelling Price Indices have been compiled for apartments and houses (including detached, semi-detached and terraced houses).

The Dwelling Price Index is published on the base 2010 = 100. The time series start from the 1st quarter of 2005. The annual index is calculated as the average of four quarters.Dwelling Price Index, 1st quarter 2005 – 1st quarter 2014 (2010 = 100)

Diagram: Dwelling Price Index, 1st quarter 2005 – 1st quarter 2014 (2010 = 100)

Source: Statistics Estonia

Tallinn – fastest growing property prices in the world

According to Global Property Guide, property prices in Tallinn in the first quarter grew in average 20%, which is only second to Dubai (32%) in a survey covering property markets of 45 countries.

Read more from BBN

Transferwise doubles Estonian workforce

Transferwise CEO Kristo Käärmann has pledged that the alternative bank transfer service will create 70 jobs in Estonia by next year.

Recently bolstered by an investment by English business magnate and investor Richard Branson, among others, the London-headquartered company started by two Estonians claims users have made 1 billion euros worth of transfers, saving 45 million euros in bank fees in the process.

This week, it was also announced that the company placed 16th on CNBC’s list of 50 movers and shakers in the field of technology, side by side with Dropbox, Uber and Spotify.

TransferWise’s founders also won recognition at London Technology Week for a “startup to riches” success story. It announced 18.4 million euros in investments last week.

Currently the company has its IT development, customer support and payment operators in Tallinn – 70 of the company’s 100 employees. The rest are in London. Käärmann said the plan is to double the size of the Tallinn office.

Source: ERR News

Free trade and association agreement with Georgia and Moldova

The government approved the European Union’s free trade and association agreement with Georgia and Moldova today, having approved a similar pact with Ukraine earlier.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said the aim of the association agreement is to accelarate closer economic and political ties between the EU and Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. The agreement gives the countries gradual access to EU’s internal market, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

The aim of the agreement is the eventual abolition of customs duties between the EU and the three countries, as well as a close political partnership focused on human rights, democracy, rule of law, sustainable development, conflict prevention and good governance, Paet said

The association and free trade agreement is also the basis for reforms in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. Talks over the agreement with Georgia and Moldova began in 2010 and the association agreements were initialled in November at the Vilnius summit.

The daily Eesti Päevaleht reported in late May that the Georgian government is experiencing pressure from Russia in relation to the signing, with hints at possible trade repercussions, and the issue could cause a rift in the coalition there.

The agreement is scheduled to be signed at the European Council on June 27.

The refusal of Ukraine’s then-president Viktor Yanukovych to sign the agreement in November launched the series of protests and power change, followed by the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the ongoing crisis in the eastern part of the country.

The agreement is currently awaiting signing and Paet said Estonia hopes it will be signed in late June, as the presidential elections in Ukraine showed the country’s wish to align itself with Europe.

Source: ERR News

Countries reached the agreement of Rail Baltic shareholders

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania reached the agreement of shareholders of the Rail Baltic railway connection joint venture at the working group meeting held in Tallinn today.

The shareholder’s agreement will require also an approval by the national governments of these states. Signing the shareholder’s agreement is expected to take place in August after the establishment in Latvia and Estonia of holding enterprises which will be shareholders of the joint venture.

According to Indrek Sirp, the Rail Baltic project manager, the negotiations were long and thorough and the final result is satisfactory for all parties. „I am particularly glad that the obstacles from the creation of the joint venture have been removed and we can continue with the actual starting of the activities of the joint venture, including submission of the application for financing to the European Commission by the end of January next year,“ he said.

It was agreed to build the railway according to similar technical standards from Tallinn to Poland through Pärnu, Riga, Panevežys and Kaunas. As this connection is eligible to receive EU support, the work will proceed in this direction as the first priority and the application for funding will be submitted for the sections on this line. Consensus was also reached on the inclusion of the Vilnius-Kaunas branch line in the project, to be implemented as soon as it becomes eligible for EU support.

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Finland signed the memorandum of understanding on the creation of the Rail Baltic Joint Venture in September last year. According to the earlier agreement, the main office of the joint venture will be in Riga, and the railway in each Baltic State will remain in state ownership.

Rail Baltic will be a 1435 mm gauge (European gauge) modern and fast electric railway connection between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. As a broader corridor, Rail Baltic will connect both Scandinavia and Russia in the north with Western Europe on the other hand.

Source: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications

Baltics agree on joint venture for high speed rail connections

An important milestone on the way to high speed rail connections from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania’s rail system to the rest of Europe was reached today as working groups from the Baltics agreed on a draft shareholders’ agreement to form a joint venture for Rail Baltic.

The working groups met today in Tallinn; it was the 10th meeting. The Lithuanians had had the most stipulations, demanding that Vilnius, the national capital, also be connected to the line. Earlier this year, Estonia and Lithuania had been close to a diplomatic row over comments made by Estonia’s then economy minister regarding the Lithuanians’ unbending stance.

“We reached a common understanding and there are articles in the shareholders’ agreement that are a very important part, that Vilniius is a part of the Rail Baltic project,” said Lithuanian economic affairs ministry department head Arenijus Jackus on ETV.

Rail Baltic Estonia project manager Indrek Sirp said the Vilnius connection can start to be developed when EU financing is in place. Currently it isn’t.

“It was also agreed that [the Vilnius connection] can’t slow down the wortk on the main line, which is via Kaunas toward Poland,” said Sirp on ETV.

The Baltics, along with Poland and Finland, signed the memorandum of intent for the joint venture last September.

The joint venture will be headquartered in Riga, while each national segment of the railway will remain property of the respective state.

Source: ERR News

The European Union Structural Funds 2014-2020

Since Estonia became a member of the European Union in 2004, thousands of projects all over Estonia have been implemented with the support allocated to the country. 

The aim of the supports and subsidies is to harmonise the development of all the member states and enhance the competitiveness as the European Union as an integrated economic area all over the world. In other words, the success of the member states contributes to the general success of the European Union.

Financing available from the Structural Funds or the European financing are allocated in Estonia via three funds: European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund and Cohesion Fund. 

In 2014-2020 budget period, in total, 3.5 billion euros will be channelled to Estonia from the EU Structural Funds; the administrative area of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications will be responsible for the use of 1.3 billion euros, spent on transport, information society, economic development and energy sectors.

Source: Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications

Water quality in several beaches not good

A European Environment Agency report, released today, shows that 5.7 percent of Estonia’s “bathing waters,” or swimming areas, were of poor quality in 2013.

Only 64.2 percent, or 34 of 53 official bathing areas, received the highest mark, one of the lowest percentages in the European Union, which had 82.6 percent high marks on average and 2.0 percent poor quality.

The following beaches were rated poor: Karepa in Lääne-Viru County, which had problems with E. coli; Vana-Pärnu Beach, near Pärnu, which had problems with both intestinal enterococci and E. coli; and Anne canal in Tartu, which had major problems with both intestinal enterococci and E. coli.

A number of beaches barely scraped by the tests, such as Kuressaare beach, Kunda (Lääne-Viru County) and Stroomi beach in Tallinn.

Read more from ERR News