How Eurostat fueled Italy’s wages as subject of discussion

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Normally a statistical report by the European research body Eurostat does not cause a major discussion, let alone any uproar. But yesterday, on Monday February 27th, the following news messages were spreading across the internet: “Italian salaries among the lowest in Europe” and “Wages in Italy in 2009 lower than in Greece”. What happened? According to the latest Labour Market Statistics 2011 report from Eurostat, the Italian wage in 2009 was with €23.400 rather low compared to the wages in eg. the Netherlands at €44.400 and even Greece at €29.100.

In the light of the continuing European crisis, any news with such a sensitive content would make politicians and governors sweat. Fortunately, the Italian counterpart of Eurostat, Istat, swiftly made a rectifying statement.

Courtesy of Google Translate Reuters Italia reports:

The ISTAT informs that the tables published today by all the newspapers based on data published yesterday by Eurostat on the average earnings of wage earners for the country as far as Italy is concerned are not consistent with data from other countries.

While in fact for all countries the data refer to 2009, the Italian data was published in 2006: “In reality there is the note in Table 2 is above the 2009 report that, unfortunately, so unclear, that the figure for all “Italy refers to 2006 and not 2009. Consequently, the published data are not comparable, “says Istat.

“The relative position of Italy is in line with the average European, national, and the absolute value exceeds that of Spain and even more the value of Greece,” adds the Istat.

Source: Eurostat [link], Reuters Italia [link]

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