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Strong Growth in Salary and Wage Rates

Strong Growth in Salary and Wage Rates

Labour Cost Index (LCI) and Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) figures show strong growth in salary and wage rates, accompanied by continued growth in the demand for labour, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Salary and wage rates (including overtime), as measured by the LCI, rose by 0.8 percent in the September 2003 quarter, the largest rise since the series began in the December 1992 quarter.

This follows a rise of 0.5 percent in the June 2003 quarter. On an annual basis, salary and wage rates (including overtime) were 2.3 percent higher in the September 2003 quarter than in the September 2002 quarter. This follows annual increases of the same size for the March 2003 and June 2003 quarters. Increases in annual wage rates remain at the highest level since the September 1997 quarter. Public sector salary and wage rates (including overtime) rose 1.1 percent in the September 2003 quarter, the largest quarterly rise recorded in this index since the June 1998 quarter.

Annually, public sector salary and wage rates rose 3.0 percent, the largest annual rise since the September 1997 quarter. A large contribution to the rise came from increased salary and wage rates for public sector teaching professionals (up 5.8 percent annually).

Private sector salary and wage rates (including overtime) rose 0.6 percent in the September 2003 quarter and were 2.1 percent higher than in the June 2002 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.

Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) results for the year to September 2003 show continued growth in business demand for labour and in employee earnings. In the year to September 2003, employment as measured by full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) increased by 2.5 percent, while total paid hours and total gross earnings increased by 2.0 percent and 5.2 percent respectively.

The annual increase in earnings continues to be higher than the increase in paid hours, leading to an increase in average hourly earnings over the past year of 3.1 percent. This annual increase continues the relatively high annual movements recorded in the recent quarters. Brian Pink Government Statistician

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