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Steady Growth In Wage Rates Continues

Quarterly Employment Survey and Labour Cost Index: November 2000 quarter

Wage rates continue to grow steadily with a 0.4 per cent increase in the December 2000 quarter, latest figures from Statistics New Zealand's Labour Cost Index show. This increase was accompanied by growth in paid hours and filled jobs between August and November 2000, as measured by the Quarterly Employment Survey.

The 0.4 per cent increase in salary and wage rates (including overtime) in the latest quarter follows increases of 0.4 per cent in the previous four quarters. Salary and wage rates (including overtime) are now 1.6 per cent higher than in the December 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, also rose by 0.4 per cent in the December 2000 quarter and are now 1.5 per cent higher than a year earlier. Quarterly increases of 0.4 per cent were also recorded in the September, June and March 2000 quarters. Although the latest increase is in line with those for the previous three quarters, there are some signs of growth in the proportion and size of increases. Thirteen per cent of private sector pay rates increased in the December 2000 quarter, compared with 11 per cent for the December 1999 quarter. Of pay rates that rose, the average increase in the latest quarter was 3.6 per cent, compared with 3.1 per cent in both the September and June 2000 quarters and 2.6 per cent in the December 1999 quarter.

Results from the Quarterly Employment Survey show that in the mid-November 2000 survey payweek, seasonally adjusted total paid hours were 1.0 per cent higher than a quarter earlier. Unadjusted total paid hours and full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) had quarterly increases of 2.6 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively. Manufacturing and the accommodation, cafes and restaurants industry contributed primarily to the quarterly growth in total paid hours and FTEs. However, this growth had a significant seasonal component.

Average total hourly earnings, as measured by the Quarterly Employment Survey, increased by 0.4 per cent to $17.95 in the November 2000 quarter. In the year to November 2000, average total hourly earnings increased by 2.6 per cent.

Private sector average ordinary time hourly earnings, as measured by the Quarterly Employment Survey, also increased by 0.4 per cent in the November 2000 quarter. In the year to November 2000 private sector ordinary time hourly earnings increased by 2.6 per cent.

Dianne Macaskill DEPUTY GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN

END


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