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Wage rates grow 1.9 percent

Wage rates grow 1.9 percent

Salary and wage rates, which include overtime, increased 1.9 percent in the year to the June 2011 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today.

This includes a rise of 0.4 percent in the June quarter. The latest annual increase in the labour cost index (LCI) follows a 1.9 percent increase in the year to the March 2011 quarter and a 1.7 percent increase in the year to the December 2010 quarter. After the 2008/09 recession, annual wage rate growth reached a low of 1.5 percent in the year to the March 2010 quarter.

Salary and wage rates for the private sector increased 2.0 percent in the year to the June 2011 quarter, following a 2.0 percent increase in the year to the March 2011 quarter. These two annual increases are the largest since a 2.0 percent increase in the year to the September 2009 quarter. Public sector rates increased 1.5 percent in the year to the June 2011 quarter, following a 1.4 percent increase in the year to the March 2011 quarter.

The average size of increases remained about the same but the proportion of wage rates increasing continued to rise. Fifty-eight percent of salary and ordinary time wage rates in the LCI sample rose in the year to the June 2011 quarter, up from 56 percent, 53 percent, and 49 percent in the years to the March 2011, December 2010, and September 2010 quarters.

The Quarterly Employment Survey (QES), also released today, showed employment measures remained steady while total paid hours and average earnings continued to rise. In the June 2011 year, the number of full-time equivalent employees remained flat, at 1.33 million, while total paid hours increased 1.6 percent.

For the same period, average total hourly earnings increased 3.1 percent, compared with a rise of 2.6 percent in the March 2011 year.

The Christchurch earthquake on 22 February 2011 has had an impact on QES and LCI estimates for the first time in the June 2011 quarter. Please refer to the Quarterly Employment Survey: June 2011 quarter and Labour Cost Index (Salary and Wage Rates): June 2011 quarter for specific information.

The LCI tracks nearly 6,000 positions and measures changes in pay rates for a fixed quantity and quality of labour.

The QES is designed to measure quarterly estimates of change in, and levels of, average hourly and average weekly (pre-tax) earnings, average weekly paid hours, and the number of filled jobs. QES statistics are derived quarterly from approximately 18,000 surveyed business locations in a range of industries and regions throughout New Zealand.


Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician

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