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More workers get wage rises, jobs soft

Tuesday 1st February 2011

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Salary and wage rates, including overtime, grew 1.7% in the year to the December quarter, Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) says.

The labour cost index (LCI) published today showed the rise for the December year was slightly up from the 1.6% in both the September and June years.

Annual wage growth as measured by the LCI declined from a peak of 4% in the year to the September 2008 quarter to 1.5% in the year to the March 2010 quarter.

In the private sector, salary and wage rates rose 1.9% in the year to December, the largest increase since a 2% rise in the year to September 2009. Public sector rates rose 1.4% in the year to December.

The slight pick-up in growth was due to a higher proportion of wage rates increasing, with the average size of increases staying about the same, SNZ said.

In the year to December, 53% of salary and ordinary time wage rates in the LCI sample rose, up from 49%, 46%, and 43% in the years to September, June, and March 2010.

In the LCI, salary and wage rates, including overtime, rose 0.5% in the December quarter, the same rise as in the September 2010 quarter. For the private sector the rise for the latest quarter was 0.6%.

The Quarterly Employment Survey (QES), also released today, showed a rise of 1.9% in average total hourly earnings for the December year, up from a 1.3% increase in the September 2010 year. Private sector average total hourly earnings increased 1.8%.

The number of full time equivalent employees as measured by the QES rose 0.2% in the December year, and was unchanged for the December quarter from the September quarter

In the December quarter, seasonally adjusted average total weekly paid hours for full time equivalent employees rose 0.9%.

It was the third consecutive increase and was the largest rise since the December 2004 quarter, SNZ said.

The number of full time equivalent employees as measured by the QES rose 0.2% in the December year, and was unchanged for the December quarter from the September quarter.

The LCI tracks nearly 6000 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.



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