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Growth In Wage Rates

Quarterly Employment Survey and Labour Cost Index: February 2001quarter

Latest figures from Statistics New Zealand's Labour Cost Index show that wage rates rose by 0.5 per cent in the March 2001 quarter. Quarterly Employment Survey figures, also released today, show that employment remained relatively flat over the same period.

Quarterly growth in wage rates has been steady for nearly three years. The 0.5 per cent March quarter increase in salary and wage rates (including overtime) follows increases of 0.4 per cent in the previous five quarters. On an annual basis, salary and wage rates (including overtime) are 1.8 per cent higher than in the March 2000 quarter. This is the highest annual change since the December 1998 quarter. In between, however, annual increases ranged between 1.4 per cent and 1.7 per cent.

Private sector salary and ordinary time wage rates, as measured by the Labour Cost Index, rose by 0.5 per cent in the March 2001 quarter and are now 1.7 per cent higher than a year earlier. This is the highest annual increase since the September 1998 quarter when a 1.7 per cent increase was also recorded. Forty-six per cent of private sector pay rates increased from the March 2000 quarter to the March 2001 quarter, compared with 45 per cent for the year to December 2000 and 43 per cent for the years to both March 1999 and March 2000. Of private sector pay rates that rose, the average annual increase was 3.7 per cent from March 2000 to March 2001, compared with 3.5 per cent for the year to December 2000 and 3.0 per cent for the year to March 2000.

The Labour Cost Index measures changes in salary and wage rates for a fixed quantity and quality of labour input. In comparison, the Quarterly Employment Survey average earnings statistics reflect not only changes in pay rates, but also compositional changes.

Results from the Quarterly Employment Survey show seasonally adjusted total paid hours were 0.5 per cent lower than in the preceding quarter. The number of full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) fell by 0.5 per cent in the February 2001 quarter. This decline in FTEs was driven by a 3.4 per cent decrease in part-time jobs. The part-time job decrease was greater than the decline normally seen in this quarter.

Average total hourly earnings, as measured by the Quarterly Employment Survey, increased by 1.1 per cent to $18.14 in the February 2001 quarter. This result was primarily due to a minimal change in total gross earnings, accompanied by a fall in total paid hours. Average total hourly earnings rose by 3.2 per cent in the year ending February 2001.

Private sector average ordinary time hourly earnings, as measured by the Quarterly Employment Survey, increased by 1.5 per cent in the February 2001 quarter. In the year to February 2001, private sector average ordinary time hourly earnings rose by 3.1 per cent.

Ian Ewing DEPUTY GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN END

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Thank you for using the Statistics New Zealand email Media Release service. Quarterly Employment Survey and Labour Cost Index: February 2001quarter

Growth in Wage Rates Latest figures from Statistics New Zealand's Labour Cost Index show that wage rates rose by 0.5 per cent in the March 2001 quarter. Quarterly Employment Survey figures, also released today, show that employment remained relatively flat over the same period.

Quarterly growth in wage rates has been steady for nearly three years. The 0.5 per cent March quarter increase in salary and wage rates (including overtime) follows increases of 0.4 per cent in the previous five quarters. On an annual basis, salary and wage rates (including overtime) are 1.8 per cent higher than in the March 2000 quarter. This is the highest annual change since the December 1998 quarter. In between, however, annual increases ranged between 1.4 per cent and 1.7 per cent.

Private sector salary and ordinary time wage rates, as measured by the Labour Cost Index, rose by 0.5 per cent in the March 2001 quarter and are now 1.7 per cent higher than a year earlier. This is the highest annual increase since the September 1998 quarter when a 1.7 per cent increase was also recorded. Forty-six per cent of private sector pay rates increased from the March 2000 quarter to the March 2001 quarter, compared with 45 per cent for the year to December 2000 and 43 per cent for the years to both March 1999 and March 2000. Of private sector pay rates that rose, the average annual increase was 3.7 per cent from March 2000 to March 2001, compared with 3.5 per cent for the year to December 2000 and 3.0 per cent for the year to March 2000.

The Labour Cost Index measures changes in salary and wage rates for a fixed quantity and quality of labour input. In comparison, the Quarterly Employment Survey average earnings statistics reflect not only changes in pay rates, but also compositional changes.

Results from the Quarterly Employment Survey show seasonally adjusted total paid hours were 0.5 per cent lower than in the preceding quarter. The number of full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) fell by 0.5 per cent in the February 2001 quarter. This decline in FTEs was driven by a 3.4 per cent decrease in part-time jobs. The part-time job decrease was greater than the decline normally seen in this quarter.

Average total hourly earnings, as measured by the Quarterly Employment Survey, increased by 1.1 per cent to $18.14 in the February 2001 quarter. This result was primarily due to a minimal change in total gross earnings, accompanied by a fall in total paid hours. Average total hourly earnings rose by 3.2 per cent in the year ending February 2001.

Private sector average ordinary time hourly earnings, as measured by the Quarterly Employment Survey, increased by 1.5 per cent in the February 2001 quarter. In the year to February 2001, private sector average ordinary time hourly earnings rose by 3.1 per cent.

Ian Ewing DEPUTY GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN

END


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