The rise in euro zone labour costs accelerated in the second quarter compared to the first three months of the year despite a stalling economy, the European Union's Statistics Office said today. 

Eurostat said total labour costs in the euro zone rose 1.2% year-on-year, of which wages grew 1.2% and other costs, like social security contributions, increased 1%. 

The labour cost rise is twice as fast as in the previous three months, even though the €9.6 trillion economy stagnated quarter-on-quarter in the three months from April to June.

The costs grew mainly as a result of a 1.7% increase in the labour costs in Europe's biggest economy Germany. 

In Italy, which is struggling to get its economy growing again and become more competitive, labour costs were unchanged year-on-year in the second quarter after falling in the first, and Italian wages continued to fall. 

Meanwhile, Ireland reported a 0.4% drop in labour costs and a 0.6% fall in wages. 

France, the euro zone's second biggest economy badly in need of faster economic growth and stronger public finances, saw a 0.9% increase in total labour costs after a rise of 1.3% in the first quarter.

But the more expensive French labour was mainly due to wage rises as the social contributions component fell 0.4%, continuing a trend of diminishing non-wage costs that began at the start of 2013. 

Separately, Eurostat said that the number of job vacancies in the euro zone was stable at 1.7% in the second quarter, with the highest number of vacancies recorded in Germany, where it was 2.8%.