Construction volumes decreased in 3Q

According to Statistics Estonia, in the 3rd quarter of 2015 compared to the same quarter of the previous year, the total production of Estonian construction enterprises in Estonia and foreign countries decreased 5%. If only the Estonian construction market is taken into account, the construction volumes decreased 10%.

In the 3rd quarter of 2015, the production value of construction enterprises amounted to 614 million euros, of which the production value of building construction was 370 million euros and the production value of civil engineering was 244 million euros. Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2014, the volume of building construction in real terms stayed on the same level and the volume of civil engineering decreased by about a tenth.

Compared to the same period of 2014, the domestic construction market was influenced the most by a decrease in civil engineering. There was also a decrease in repair and reconstruction work in building construction. At the same time, new building construction continued to grow.

The construction volume of Estonian construction enterprises in foreign countries increased by more than a half compared to the 3rd quarter of 2014, influenced mainly by the construction of buildings. Construction volumes in foreign countries accounted for 13% of the total volume of construction in the 3rd quarter of 2015.

According to the data of the Register of Construction Works, in the 3rd quarter of 2015, the number of dwelling completions was 985, i.e. two times more than in the same period of 2014. More than a half of the completed dwellings were situated in blocks of flats. The majority of completed dwellings were situated in Tallinn.

There is still a demand for new dwellings with a good location and high quality. In the 3rd quarter of 2015, building permits were granted for the construction of 1,512 dwellings, which means that the number of building permits issued increased by a half compared to the 3rd quarter of 2014. The most popular type of building was block of flats.

The number of completed non-residential buildings was 292 with a useful floor area of 166,300 square metres – this consisted primarily of new industrial, storage and commercial premises. Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2014, the useful floor area as well as the volume of completed non-residential buildings decreased.Diagram: Construction volume index and its trend, 1st quarter 2000 – 3rd quarter 2015

Source: Statistics Estonia

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Average Estonian pension is 371 eur

The average old-age pension in Estonia was 370.9 euros per month in the third quarter of 2015, Statistics Estonia said on Friday.

Compared to the third quarter of 2014, the average old-age pension was bigger by 6 percent.

The average size of pension in Estonia in the third quarter also grew by 6 percent year over year to 326.8 euros.

Source: Baltic News Service

Transferwise founders named European Web Entrepreneurs of The Year

The European Commission today announced the winners of the 2015 European Web Entrepreneurs, or Europioneers Awards. Among this year’s winners are Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann from Estonia.

Hindrikus and Käärmann took home the Web Entrepreneur of the Year title, presented by the Vice President of the European Commission Jyrki Katainen, and the President of the European Committee of the Regions Markku Markkula. The winners were announced during Slush Conference in Helsinki where the European web entrepreneur community was represented by 15,000 participants, including 1,700 start-ups, 800 investors, and 650 media representatives. The selection of the winners depended on the public voting and jury input.

Europioneers is organized by the European Commission as part of the Startup Europe initiative, in partnership with Deloitte, LEWIS PR and the European Young Innovators Forum. The objective of the competition is to identify and recognise successful European web initiatives, to promote the role web entrepreneurs play in European society, and to encourage and inspire potential entrepreneurs. The award were given for the third consecutive year. In 2014 over 300 nominations were received, voted on by over 2000 members of start-up communities.

Käärmann and Hinrikus are the founders of TransferWise, an Estonian developed and UK-based peer-to-peer money transfer service with headquarters in London and offices in Tallinn and New York. More than 3 billion pounds has been transferred through TransferWise to date.

Source: ERR

Transferwise

 

Border guards receive 159 new vehicles

The Ministry of the Interior will give the Police and Border Guard (PPA) 3.6 million euros to buy 96 patrol cars and 63 all-terrain vehicles.

The new vehicles will mostly be used to strengthened border security, replacing 82 older models.

The all-terrain vehicles will include 10 UTVs, 23 snowmobiles and 26 mountain bikes.

A procurement deal will be signed in February and the first vehicles should arrive in April 2016.

Source: ERR

 

Estonia’s gender gap narrows

Estonia has placed 21st among 145 states in the latest Global Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum, while last year Estonia placed 62nd among 142 countries surveyed.

According to the report Estonia climbed the most in the ranking and mainly due to improving its political empowerment index.

In the parliament the share of women MPs rose from 19 percent to 24 percent, while in the government the share rose from 17 percent to 46 percent as a result of Estonia having six female ministers at a time for a period of a few months at the end of 2014 and the start of 2015.

Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Ireland made up the top five, while Syria, Pakistan and Yemen were the bottom three countries.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

Wage growth accelerated

• Wage growth picked up as labour market tightened further in the third quarter
• Remarkable surge in employees’ purchasing power supports consumption

According to Statistics Estonia, average wage amounted to 1,045 euros, up by 6.9% annually. As labour market has tightened, workers’ bargaining power has increased and growing labour costs are biting into enterprises’ profitability.

 

Wages increased in almost all sectors. Wage growth was the fastest in sectors where the average wage level is the lowest, e.g., accommodation and food services, education, entertainment, and real estate. The rapid growth of wages in these sectors was supported by a substantial increase in the minimum wage, a political agreement to raise the wages of teachers, and strong domestic consumption that lifts the sales of enterprises who sell their products and services in the domestic market.

Average wage decreased in a relatively small sector of administrative and support service activities where average pay was lower than last year in a few small enterprises. Average wage in construction grew only by 1%, probably due to the registration of previously unofficially employed workers who still receive part of their pay in an envelope.

Households’ real purchasing power will grow markedly this year. The growth of gross wages will probably remain fast in the fourth quarter and smaller labour taxes and deflation will result in a remarkable surge in households’ purchasing power. Net wages were up by 7.7% in real terms in the first nine months of the year.

Wage growth will also be fast next year as the lack of suitable labour remains a concern. An agreed 10% increase in the minimum wage in 2016 will also have an impact. The growth of wages in real terms will slow in 2016 compared with 2015 as prices will start growing and labour taxes will be lowered less than this year.

Source: Swedbank

Estonian state budget 2016

The planned expenditures of the draft state budget for 2016 are 8.9 billion euros, a growth of 4.2 percent or 358 million over the 2015 budget. The general government budget is projected to reach a structural surplus of 0.6 per cent of GDP.

Defense expenditures will reach 2.07 per cent of forecast GDP. This means an increase of 37.1 million euros, or 9 per cent over 2015. The national defense budget of 451 million euros will ensure the development of defense capabilities.

Read more from the report of the Estonian Ministry of Finance here