Job numbers and wages rose during the December quarter,
with the rebuilding of Canterbury underpinning the figures,
while around the country overall job numbers rose but remained
below pre-recession levels, as at December 2007.
Economists have raised concerns over some of the data which
indicates declines in average wages, increasing numbers of
people not getting wage rises and the possibility of building
skill shortages flowing through from Canterbury to further
In Canterbury, job numbers rose 4.7% during the year to
December, full-time employment rose 5.4% and part-time 3.4%,
Statistics New Zealand revealed yesterday in its quarterly
employment survey and labour cost index.
''This is the third quarter in a row showing an annual rise
in job numbers in Canterbury ... now similar to
pre-earthquake levels, although this is not the case for all
industries,''SNZ said in a statement.
Yesterday's data precedes the household labour force survey,
out tomorrow, which is expected to show the unemployment rate
declined 0.2 of a percentage point to 7.1% during the
ASB economist Daniel Smith said the labour index and
employment survey ''delivered no surprises'', with the labour
index showing growth remains ''fairly steady; at a subdued
rate of around 2% a year'' - a pace maintained during the
past two years.
The employment survey showed a 0.4% increase in total job
numbers to 1.72 million and a similar gain in full-time
equivalent employees, to 1.36 million.
Mr Smith said the employment survey measure of average hourly
earnings showed a decline for the quarter, but that followed
a very strong third-quarter result for the volatile series.
''The labour cost story in the Canterbury construction sector
follows that of wider construction costs; within the region
pressures are starting to emerge, but for now remain very
''We do expect skill shortages to bite further in Canterbury,
an effect which is likely to flow through to other regions,''
Mr Smith said.
Council of Trade Unions economist Bill Rosenberg said wages
and salaries made up almost three-quarters of household
income. The proportion of workers getting no increase at all
had now risen to 45%, he said.
''For those who did get an increase in the last year, the
median increase was 3% and the average was 3.7%,'' he said.
Private sector salary and ordinary time wages rose 0.5% in
the three months to December, as expected, and were
maintaining the same pace of growth from a quarter earlier.
Public sector wages rose 0.5% in the quarter, and including
overtime, all salary and wages advanced a quarterly 0.6%,
while private sector wages rose at an annual pace of 1.9%,
and all salary and wages increased 2% in 2012.
''The fall in the average wage from $25.27 to $25.25 along
with the continued slow wage increases measured in the labour
cost index show current wage increases are simply not going
to do what is necessary to raise living standards for New
Zealand families,'' Mr Rosenberg said.
''For many families, their wages are inadequate to provide
even a modest standard of living,'' he said.
- Additional reporting: BusinessDesk