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Growth in Wage Rates


Figures released today from Statistics New Zealand's Labour Cost Index (LCI) and Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) show evidence of further wage growth in the September 2002 quarter.

Salary and wage rates (including overtime), as measured by the LCI, rose by 0.7 percent in the September 2002 quarter, following quarterly increases of 0.5 percent in each of the previous three quarters. The latest quarterly increase is the largest since the March 1997 quarter.

On an annual basis, salary and wage rates (including overtime) were 2.2 percent higher in the September 2002 quarter than in the September 2001 quarter.

LCI private sector salary and wage rates (including overtime) rose by 0.6 percent in the September 2002 quarter and are now 2.1 percent higher than a year earlier. Sixteen percent of private sector ordinary time pay rates increased from the June 2002 quarter. On an annual basis, 53 percent of private sector ordinary time pay rates have increased since the September 2001 quarter. Of the rates that rose from the September 2001 quarter to the September 2002 quarter, the average annual increase was 4.3 percent.

LCI public sector salary and wage rates (including overtime) rose by 0.8 percent in the September 2002 quarter, following a rise of 0.4 percent in the June 2002 quarter. The September 2002 quarter increase was due to a 0.8 percent increase in the more highly weighted central government sector and a 1.0 percent increase in the local government sector.

Our Information Centres are at: Wellington 04 495 4600 Email: info@stats.govt.nz Auckland 09 357 2100 Christchurch 03 374 8700 www.stats.govt.nz On an annual basis, public sector salary and wage rates (including overtime) were 2.5 percent higher than in the September 2001 quarter. Within the public sector, there were annual increases of 3.5 percent for health professionals (including an increase of 1.0 percent in the latest quarter) and 2.5 percent for teaching professionals (including an increase of 0.7 percent in the latest quarter). The annual movement for teaching professionals included two increases within the year for primary school teachers and principals.

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 August 2002 quarter QES show a decrease of 0.9 percent in the number of full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). Filled jobs decreased by 0.8 percent in the August 2002 quarter, a movement that is not statistically significant.

Annually, the number of full-time equivalent employees increased by 3.9 percent and total filled jobs increased by 3.7 percent. Seasonally adjusted total paid hours increased by 0.7 percent in the August 2002 quarter and 4.8 percent in the year to August 2002. Seasonally adjusted total gross earnings increased by 2.0 percent in the August 2002 quarter and 8.0 percent in the year to August 2002.

The August 2002 QES recorded a 1.8 percent increase in average total hourly earnings. This increase follows a decrease of 0.3 percent in average total hourly earnings in the May 2002 quarter. In the year to August 2002, average total hourly earnings increased by 3.1 percent.

Private sector average total hourly earnings were $17.91 in the August 2002 quarter, equating to a 1.8 percent increase for the quarter. Annually, private sector average total hourly earnings increased by 2.5 percent.

Public sector average total hourly earnings were $23.60 in the August 2002 quarter, equating to a 1.8 percent increase for the quarter. In the year to August 2002, public sector average total hourly earnings rose by 4.7 percent. These movements reflect compositional changes in employment within industries in addition to increases in pay rates as shown in the LCI.

Brian Pink Government Statistician END


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