In 2012 labour costs per full-time employee in manufacturing (including energy and construction) rose by 2.9 per cent in western Germany and by 3.5 per cent in the east. In the west, cost growth was much weaker than in previous years. However, this difference must be viewed in the light of the return of working hours to their pre-crisis level in 2010 and 2011. With a cost level of 40,540 euros, eastern German manufacturing is maintaining its cost advantage of around one third over its western German counterpart (61,200 euros). In services, there is a wide gap between the transport sector (43,980 euros) and the wholesale and retail trade (46,210 euros), on the one hand, and financial service providers (78,420 euros), on the other. Despite a decline in costs in 2012, at 61,860 euros business services also have slightly higher labour costs than industry.

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