Retail industry sees growth in annual wage in 2019

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Over 4 per cent wage growth in the retail industry was one of the key factors in overall wage growth remaining at a 10-year high in year to the December 2019 quarter, according to data released by Statistics NZ.

Across industries, average ordinary time hourly earnings increased to $32.76, up 3.6 per cent. In the public sector, they increased 4.6 per cent to $41.34, up 4.6 per cent, and in the private sector, they increased 3 per cent to $30.56.  

In retail, average ordinary time hourly earnings increased by 4.2 per cent.

Average weekly earnings, including overtime, for full-time equivalent employees in the QES also increased on an annual basis – up 3.6 per cent over the year to reach $1,272.12.

More than $20 billion in main government transfers, including New Zealand Superannuation, veterans’ pensions, and paid parental leave, are adjusted each year, partly based on earnings as measured by the QES.

The labour cost index (LCI) all salary and wage rates, including overtime, saw a 2.6 per cent increase in the year to the December 2019 quarter.

Collective agreements across industries continued to shape public sector wage growth, which increased 3.3 per cent in the year to the December 2019 quarter. This compares with a 3 per cent increase in the year to the September 2019 quarter.

Annually, private sector wage rates increased 2.4 per cent. The largest contributor was the private sector health care industry, partly influenced by hospital staff receiving pay settlements over the year.

The minimum wage increase in April 2019 was another significant event for the annual increase in private sector wages, particularly for the retail trade and accommodation industries.

“We expect to see more minimum wage effects coming through in the LCI as it continues to rise in annual increments, reaching $20 per hour by 2021,” business prices delivery manager Bryan Downes said.

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