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New Zealand Income Survey: June 2013 quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  04 October 2013
Commentary

All income changes in this information release are statistically significant unless otherwise specified.

Overview

Between the June 2012 and June 2013 quarters:

  • Median weekly income from wages and salaries for those receiving income from this source increased by $38 (4.8 percent) to $844. This was partly due to the workforce’s changing age structure.
  • Median hourly earnings increased by 72 cents (3.5 percent) to $21.58.
  • Median weekly income for all people from all sources increased by $15 (2.7 percent) to $575, although this increase was not statistically significant. The increase would have been higher if not for a greater proportion of people receiving zero income in the June 2013 quarter.

For more information on the terms and concepts used in this release please see Definitions.

Older workforce contributes to higher weekly wage and salary income

Median weekly income from wages and salaries (for those receiving this source of income) increased $38 (4.8 percent) between the June 2012 and June 2013 quarters, to $844.

The changing age structure of the workforce contributed to this increase.

Graph, Median weekly income from wages and salaries, for those receiving income from this source, June quarter, 2003 to 2013.

Between the June 2012 and June 2013 quarters, the proportion of people earning wages and salaries:

  • decreased 0.7 percentage points to 15.6 percent for people aged 15–24 years
  • increased 1.3 percentage points to 31.0 percent for people aged 50+.

The changing age structure affected median wage and salary income because young people tend to earn lower income than people in the older age groups.

In the June 2013 quarter, median weekly income from wages and salaries (for those receiving this source of income) for people aged:

  • 15–24 years was $546
  • 25–49 years was $940
  • 50+ was $882.

Overall wages and salaries tend to be higher when there is a larger proportion of older workers relative to younger workers.

These changes were in line with the results of the Household Labour Force Survey: June 2013 quarter. It found fewer youth were in the labour force but more were studying when the June 2012 and June 2013 quarters were compared.

Graph, Proportion of wage and salary earners, by age group, June quarter, 2012 to 2013.

Between the June 2012 and June 2013 quarters, the changing age structure of the workforce contributed to rises in:

  • average hours worked – up 23 minutes a week (1.1 percent) to 36 hours and 18 minutes
  • the proportion of full-time earners – up 0.6 percentage points.

People aged 50+ worked, on average, 6.5 hours longer a week than people aged 15–24 years in the June 2013 quarter. Therefore, more earners aged 50+ have contributed to increases in both average hours worked and the proportion of full-time earners.

Hourly earnings also on the rise

Median hourly earnings for those receiving wage and salary income increased by 72 cents (3.5 percent) between the June 2012 and June 2013 quarters, to $21.58. A greater proportion of older workers in higher-paid work contributed to this increase.

Graph, Change in median hourly earning for wage and salary earners, between June quarters, 2003 to 2013.

Here are more details about changes in hourly earnings between the June 2012 and June 2013 quarters (for those receiving wage and salary income).

Sex: Median full-time hourly earnings for females increased 76 cents (3.5 percent) to $22.34. For males, earnings were up 67 cents (2.9 percent) to $23.67. However, the increase for males was not statistically significant.

As the increase for females was greater than for males, the ratio of female to male full-time median hourly earnings increased 0.6 percentage points, to 94.4 percent, between the two June quarters.

Note: A ratio of 100 percent would show there was no difference in earnings between males and females. These ratios do not take into account factors that could influence a difference in earnings, such as occupation, qualifications gained, age, and hours worked.

Occupation: Median hourly earnings increased for two occupation groups:

  • community and personal service workers – up 94 cents (5.9 percent) to $17.00
  • machinery operators and drivers – up $1.08 (5.9 percent) to $19.34.

Industry: Three industry groups also showed increases in median hourly earnings:

  • construction – up $1.67 (7.8 percent) to $23.17
  • retail trade and accommodation – up 66 cents (4.4 percent) to $15.80
  • public administration and safety – up $2.19 (8.1 percent) to $29.19. 

See Labour Cost Index (Salary and Wage Rates): June 2013 quarter for an analysis of salary and wage rate growth for the construction industry in the Canterbury region.

Median weekly income from all sources is $575

Between the June 2012 and the June 2013 quarters, we noted the following changes.

Income from all sources: Median weekly income from all sources for all people increased $15, to $575. This movement was not statistically significant. Income from wages and salaries, self-employment, and government transfers all increased, but this was partly offset by a greater proportion of people receiving no income, particularly people aged 15–24.

Self-employment income: Median weekly income from self-employment (for those receiving this source of income) increased $96 (16.7 percent), to $671. This increase was driven partly by fewer people earning low self-employment income over this same period.

In the June 2013 quarter, we adjusted the questionnaire design for the self-employment income section. For more information see data quality.

Government transfers: Median weekly income from government transfers (for those receiving this source of income) increased $12 (4.0 percent), to $300. Changes to benefit rates and an increase in the number of people aged 65+ who received government transfer income both influenced the increase.

From 1 April 2013, the rate of New Zealand Superannuation increased by 2.44 percent; main benefits, student allowances, and some supplementary assistance increased by 0.61 percent.

Between the June 2012 and the June 2013 quarters, the number of people aged 65+ receiving government transfer income increased by 3.5 percent. In the June 2013 quarter, 48.6 percent of people receiving government transfer income were 65+. 

Investment income: Median weekly income from investments (for those receiving this source of income) was unchanged, at $13. 

Household income: Median weekly household income from all sources increased $54 (4.1 percent), to $1,358.

Regional income: Median weekly earnings from paid employment increased in the following regions:

  • Canterbury – up $65 (8.5 percent) to $833
  • Otago – up $73 (9.9 percent) to $810
  • Southland – up $86 (11.9 percent) to $806.

The income growth in these three regions was driven by increases in both wage and salary and self-employment income. No other regions experienced increases.

For more detailed data, see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.

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