The average gross earnings per hour in the European Union stood at €13.38 in 2006. The highest hourly gross earnings were recorded in Denmark (€22.38), Ireland (€20.38) and UK (€19.47), according to Eurostat.

On the other hand, the lowest hourly gross earnings were recorded in Bulgaria - €1.11, Romania - €1.87 and Latvia - €2.64.

Compared to November 2009, Romanians have increased their hourly average earnings by around 40% from 2006, considering that starting from fourth quarter 2008, the Romanian economy slipped into recession.

In the euro area, where the hourly gross earnings were €13.99 in 2006, the highest earnings were recorded in Ireland - €20.83, Luxembourg - €19.19 and Belgium - €17.45.

Eurostat analysis shows that Bulgaria and Romania are the countries with the lowest earnings in the European Union.

The percentage of full-time employees who were low-wage earners in 2006 was 31% in Latvia, 28% in Lithuania, 27% in Bulgaria and Romania and 23% in Hungary.