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Steady Growth in Nominal Wage Rates

5 August 2002

Steady Growth in Nominal Wage Rates

Labour Cost Index (LCI) figures for the June 2002 quarter show that growth in wage rates has continued at similar levels to that recorded in recent quarters, according to Statistics New Zealand. Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) figures, also released today, show that employment has increased over the same period.

Salary and wage rates (including overtime), as measured by the LCI, increased by 0.5 percent in the June 2002 quarter, following increases of 0.5 percent in both the December 2001 and March 2002 quarters.

On an annual basis, salary and wage rates (including overtime) were 2.1 percent higher in the June 2002 quarter than in the June 2001 quarter.

LCI private sector salary and wage rates (including overtime) rose by 0.5 percent in the June 2002 quarter and are now 2.1 percent higher than a year earlier. Fifty-three percent of private sector ordinary time pay rates increased from the June 2001 quarter, which is the highest proportion since the June 1996 quarter when 54 percent rose from a year earlier. Of the private sector ordinary time pay rates that rose from the June 2001 quarter to the June 2002 quarter, the average annual increase was 4.2 percent.

LCI public sector salary and wage rates (including overtime) rose by 0.4 percent in the June 2002 quarter. This follows an increase of 0.6 percent in the March 2002 quarter. On an annual basis public sector salary and wage rates (including overtime) were 2.3 percent higher than in the June 2001 quarter.

The LCI measures changes in salary and wage rates for a fixed quantity and quality of labour input. By comparison, QES average earnings statistics reflect not only changes in pay rates, but also compositional and other changes in the paid workforce.

Employment figures from the May 2002 quarter QES indicate growth in employment. Filled jobs increased by 2.1 percent in the quarter, a movement that was driven primarily by an increase in part-time jobs. On an annual basis, filled jobs increased by 4.4 percent in the year to May 2002.

Seasonally adjusted total paid hours rose 1.5 percent in the May 2002 quarter and by 4.4 percent in the May 2002 year. Seasonally adjusted total gross earnings increased by 1.1 percent in the May 2002 quarter and by 6.9 percent in the May 2002 year.

Average total hourly earnings remained flat in the May 2002 quarter, with the 0.3 percent decrease not being statistically significant. Annually, average total hourly earnings increased by 2.4 percent in the year to May 2002.

Private sector average total hourly earnings were $17.60 in the May 2002 quarter, a 0.1 percent decrease from the previous quarter. In the year to May 2002, private sector average total hourly earnings increased by 1.4 percent.

Public sector average total hourly earnings were $23.19 in the May 2002 quarter, a 1.3 percent decrease from the February 2002 quarter. In the year to May 2002 public sector average total hourly earnings rose 5.0 percent.

Brian Pink
Government Statistician
END


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