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Labour Market Remains Flat

Total paid hours of work, filled jobs and wage inflation remain relatively flat, latest figures from the Labour Cost Index and Quarterly Employment Survey show.

Salary and wage rates (including overtime), measured by the Labour Cost Index, rose by 0.4 per cent in the June 2000 quarter. There were quarterly increases of the same size in the December 1999 and March 2000 quarters. On an annual basis, salary and wage rates (including overtime) were 1.6 per cent higher than in the June 1999 quarter. This increase is slightly higher than that from the March 1999 quarter to the March 2000 quarter of 1.4 per cent, only because of two increases in school teachers' salaries within the latest year.

A rise in teachers' salaries was the main reason for an increase of 0.8 per cent in salary and ordinary time wage rates in the public sector from the March quarter to the June quarter. Annually, public sector salary and ordinary time wage rates were 2.4 per cent higher in the June 2000 quarter than a year earlier, with nearly half of this movement caused by two increases in school teachers' salaries.

Private sector salary and ordinary time wage rates rose by 0.4 per cent in the June 2000 quarter, 1.3 per cent higher than a year earlier. It is notable that although the size of private sector increases grew slightly during the past six months, the proportion of pay rates increasing has

remained at 11 per cent in each of the past three quarters.

There is a continued lack of growth in the labour market, results from the May 2000 Quarterly Employment Survey indicate. From February to May 2000 total paid hours and total gross earnings were flat. Filled jobs increased by 0.8 per cent, although all of this growth was in part-time jobs.

Average total hourly earnings increased by 0.8 per cent to $17.72 in May 2000. The rise in teachers' salaries contributed to this increase. The seasonal rise in total paid hours in tertiary institutions in May also had the effect of increasing average total hourly earnings. This was due to the relatively high average hourly earnings in the education industry. The annual increase in average total hourly earnings was 36 cents or 2.1 per cent.

Private sector average ordinary time hourly earnings are now $16.67, an increase of 0.3 per cent between February and May 2000. In the year to May 2000, private sector average ordinary time hourly earnings increased by 1.7 per cent.


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