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Annual Growth in Wages Continues

6 May 2005

Annual Growth in Wages Continues

Wages are continuing to show annual growth, according to Statistics New Zealand's Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) and Labour Cost Index (LCI). In the year to March 2005, salary and wage rates (including overtime), as measured by the LCI, rose 2.5 percent. By comparison, average total hourly earnings, as measured by the QES, rose 3.6 percent. In the March 2005 quarter, salary and wage rates (including overtime) increased 0.5 percent, according to the LCI.

In the LCI, furniture and other manufacturing salary and wage rates (including overtime) recorded the largest industry movement in the March 2005 quarter, rising 1.1 percent. This is the largest quarterly increase for this industry since the series began in the June 2001 quarter, and was caused by rises in both salary and ordinary time wage rates, and overtime wage rates. In the LCI, health professionals' salary and wage rates (including overtime) rose 0.9 percent in the March 2005 quarter, driven by the public sector. Annually, health professionals' salary and wage rates rose 3.6 percent.

In the QES, average total hourly earnings increased 1.5 percent (to $20.56) for the March 2005 quarter, as a result of an increase in estimated total gross earnings (up 1.8 percent). Total paid hours remained relatively unchanged for the quarter. In the QES, the number of full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) remained relatively unchanged in the March 2005 quarter. This was the result of a 1.3 percent increase in full-time employment being offset by a 4.5 percent decrease in part-time employment.

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

Brian Pink

Government Statistician


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