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Salary and wage rates up 1.9% year to March

Tuesday 3rd May 2011

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Salary and wage rates, including overtime, increased 1.9% in the year to the March quarter, Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) says.

Annual wage growth, as measured by the labour cost index (LCI) peaked at 4% in the year to September 2008, falling to a low of 1.5% in the year to March 2010.

Salary and wage rates for the private sector rose 2% in the year to the March, while in the public sector the increase was 1.4%.

Annual wage growth was higher due to a higher proportion of wage rates increasing, with 56% of salary and ordinary time wage rates in the LCI sample rising in the year to March. The size of increases was little changed, SNZ said today.

The quarterly employment survey (QES), also released today, showed average total hourly earnings continued to rise.

In the March year, average total hourly earnings rose 2.6%, up from a 1.9% increase in the December 2010 year.

For the same period, average total weekly paid hours for full time equivalent employees increased 1.4% to 38.43 hours. That was the second-largest increase since the series began in March 1989.

In the March quarter, seasonally adjusted total paid hours rose 0.7%, while total gross earnings rose 1.2%, as measured by the QES.

For the year to March seasonally adjusted total paid hours were up 2%, with total gross earnings up 4.6%.

Average total hourly earnings rose 2.6% from the previous year and 0.4% from the previous quarter to $25.96.

The Christchurch earthquake on February 22 did not affect the LCI or QES estimates for the March quarter as the reference week for both surveys was before the earthquake, SNZ said.

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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