Salaries and wages are going up slowly, with a small rise in the June quarter showing employment is barely picking up.
The labour cost index (LCI) published by Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) today put the annual rate of salary and wage growth, including overtime, at 1.6 per cent, and 0.4 per cent in the June quarter.
This follows an increase of 1.5 per cent in the year to the March 2010 quarter, and a steady decline in the growth of salary and wage rates, including overtime, from a peak of 4 per cent in the year to September 2008.
The salary and wages rates went up for both the public sector by 2.1 per cent and the private sector by 1.5 per cent in the year to June.
The quarterly employment survey (QES), also published today, found an increase of 2.5 per cent in total paid hours in the year to June - the first annual increase in total paid hours after six consecutive quarters of annual decline.
And full-time employees rose by 1.3 per cent, increasing on an annual basis for the first time since the September 2008 year.
SNZ said the major contributors were the professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services; and the arts, recreation, and other services industries.
The average total hourly earnings rose by 2.1 per cent for the year, following an identical result in the year to March, which had been the lowest annual increase since the same increase in the December 2004 year.
SNZ said seasonally adjusted, total gross earnings rose 1.8 per cent for the June 2010 quarter, while seasonally adjusted paid hours went up 1.2 per cent.