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Paid Hours Unchanged, Wages Strong

Labour Cost Index and Quarterly Employment Survey: December 2005 quarter


Paid Hours Unchanged, Wages Strong

Total paid hours, as measured by the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES), were relatively unchanged in the year to December 2005, Statistics New Zealand said today. The result is an end to a period of annual growth in paid hours since the December 1998 year. However, strong earnings growth continues, as shown in both the QES and Labour Cost Index (LCI).

Average total hourly earnings increased 5.4 percent (to $21.35) in the December 2005 year. A December annual movement of this magnitude has not been seen since the year to December 1990 and was caused by increased contributions from the health and community services; transport, storage and communications; and wholesale trade industry groups.

Salary and wage rates (including overtime), as measured by the LCI, rose 3.0 percent for the year to the December 2005 quarter. This is the largest annual increase for a year to December quarter since the series began in the December 1992 quarter.

In the LCI, 23 percent of the surveyed positions received an increase of between three and five percent in salary and ordinary time wage rates in the year to the December 2005 quarter and 20 percent of positions received an increase of more than five percent. These are the highest annual proportions since the series began in the December 1992 quarter.

Health professionals' salary and wage rates (including overtime) increased 7.3 percent in the year to the December 2005 quarter. This is the highest annual increase since the series began in the December 1992 quarter. In the December 2005 quarter, health professionals' salary and wage rates (including overtime) rose 1.2 percent, following increases of 1.9 percent in the September 2005 quarter and 3.1 percent in the June 2005 quarter.

In the QES, the number of full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) rose 3.0 percent over the December 2005 year, driven by increased full-time employment (up 3.5 percent). Part-time employment remained relatively unchanged over the same period.

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

ENDS

There is a companion Hot Off The Press information release published – Quarterly Employment Survey: December 2005 quarter and Labour Cost Index (Salary and Wage Rates): December 2005 quarter.

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