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Annual Wage Rate Growth Continues to Ease

Annual Wage Rate Growth Continues to Ease – Media release

7 May 2013

Annual growth in the labour cost index (LCI) salary and wage rates eased for the third consecutive quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. In the year to the March 2013 quarter, salary and wage rates (including overtime) increased 1.7 percent. This includes a 0.4 percent rise in the March 2013 quarter.

Private sector salary and ordinary time wage rates increased 1.8 percent in the year to the March 2013 quarter. Public sector salary and ordinary time wage rates rose 1.5 percent in the same period. This rise in the public sector came from increases in central government (up 1.5 percent) and local government (up 2.1 percent).

In the March 2013 quarter, 13 percent of all surveyed salary and ordinary time wage rates increased. Of the 13 percent, the median increase was 2.4 percent, the lowest in 12 years. Fifty-six percent of the surveyed sample increased in the year to the March 2013 quarter. Of the 56 percent, the median increase was 2.9 percent, the lowest in 21 months.

Results from the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES), also released today, showed that average hourly earnings for ordinary time (ie excluding overtime) rose 2.1 percent in the year to the March 2013 quarter. This followed a 2.6 percent rise in the year to the December 2012 quarter.

The QES results also showed that demand for labour rose for the March 2013 quarter after adjusting for seasonal fluctuations. The number of filled jobs rose 0.4 percent in the March 2013 quarter. Full-time jobs rose by 0.3 percent and part-time jobs rose by 0.5 percent. The overall result of these movements was a 0.4 percent rise in full-time equivalent jobs (FTEs). Seasonally adjusted total paid hours showed no change over the same period.

The LCI tracks nearly 6,000 jobs and reflects changes in the rates that employers pay to have the same job done to the same standard. Rises to match the market, retain staff, or reflect the cost of living are shown in the LCI, while rises reflecting individual performance or years of service are filtered out.

The QES surveys approximately 18,000 business locations and reflects New Zealand employers' demand for paid labour. From the survey responses, we estimate the levels and changes in employment, gross earnings, and paid hours in the industries we survey. These estimates are then used to calculate average earnings and paid hours statistics.

Labour Cost Index (Salary and Wage Rates): March
2013 quarter


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