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Growth in Wage Rates Remains Steady

Quarterly Employment Survey and Labour Cost Index figures, released together by Statistics New Zealand, show growth in paid hours and filled jobs over the year to August 2000. However, wage inflation remained steady.

Results from the Quarterly Employment Survey show that in the mid-August 2000 survey payweek the total numbers of paid hours and full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) were higher than a year earlier by 4.0 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively. Property and business services; retail trade; health and community services; and the accommodation, cafes and restaurants industry are all industries that showed annual growth in total paid hours and FTEs.

Salary and wage rates (including overtime), as measured by the Labour Cost Index, rose by 0.4 per cent in the September 2000 quarter. This follows increases of 0.4 per cent in the June and March 2000 quarters and the December 1999 quarter. On an annual basis, salary and wages rates (including overtime) are 1.5 per cent higher than in the September 1999 quarter. Annual changes in salary and wage rates have remained at about this level since the June 1999 quarter.

Private sector salary and ordinary time wage rates, as measured by the Labour Cost Index, rose by 0.4 per cent in the September 2000 quarter and were 1.3 per cent higher than a year earlier. Quarterly increases of 0.4 per cent were also recorded in the June and March 2000 quarters. Thirteen per cent of private sector pay rates increased in the September quarter, the same proportion as for the September quarter last year. Of pay rates that rose, the average increase in the September 2000 quarter was 3.1 per cent, compared with 3.1 per cent in the June 2000 quarter and 2.7 per cent in the September 1999 quarter.

Average total hourly earnings, as measured by the Quarterly Employment Survey, increased by 0.9 per cent to $17.88 in the quarter to August 2000. In the year to August 2000, average total hourly earnings increased by 1.7 per cent.

Private sector average ordinary time hourly earnings, as measured by the Quarterly Employment Survey, also increased by 0.9 per cent between May and August 2000. The annual movement in private sector ordinary time hourly earnings was 1.4 per cent.

Ian Ewing



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