Purchasing power decreases: real wages fell at the beginning of the year

Status: 05/30/2022 11:17 a.m

Even a significant increase in collective wages in recent months does not change the fact that employees have to accept losses. Because the prices in Germany have again risen more sharply.

High inflation more than eroded payroll growth in the first quarter as well. According to the Federal Statistical Office, wages including special payments increased by 4.0 percent in the first three months compared to the same period last year. However, consumer prices rose by 5.8 percent in the first quarter.

The bottom line is that wages, adjusted for price (in real terms), fell by 1.8 percent, as the statisticians reported.

Collective wages increase with the general wage level

Collectively agreed wages also rose by an average of 4.0 percent in the first quarter. This includes collectively agreed basic salaries and special payments determined by collective bargaining agreements. The wage increases for employees in education and training (plus 5.0 percent), in agriculture, forestry and fisheries (plus 4.9 percent) and in public administration, defense and social security (plus 4.6 percent) fell well above average ) out. The corona bonuses for employees in the public sector in the federal states and municipalities were particularly noticeable here.

Below-average growth in negotiated wages was particularly evident in energy supply (plus 0.7 percent), financial and insurance services (plus 1.3 percent) and water supply and waste disposal (1.9 percent).

Real losses for more than two years

In the past two years, high inflation has completely eaten up the increase in wages. Prior to that, there had been significant increases over many years.

In the first year of the Corona crisis, 2020, the increased use of short-time work in particular had put pressure on wage developments – real wages fell by 1.1 percent. In 2021, real wages fell slightly by 0.1 percent due to rising consumer prices.

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