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New Zealand Income Survey: June 2015 quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  02 October 2015
Commentary

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

All income figures in this information release refer to gross (before tax) income for individuals.

Note: On 31 August 2015, we revised all series from the New Zealand Income Survey (NZIS) to account for the latest population estimates following the 2013 Census. We also introduced regional benchmarks to help improve the quality of our regional income estimates. As we have changed our previous estimates, we do not recommend comparing estimates in this release with those in previous information releases.

See New Zealand Income Survey population rebase: June quarters 1997 to 2014 for more information.

Median weekly income increases 4.3 percent

In the year to the June 2015 quarter, median weekly income from all sources for all people (including those with no source of income) increased by $26 (4.3 percent), to reach $621. Increases in weekly income from government transfers and the number of wage and salary earners, particularly those in full-time employment, contributed to the increase.

Graph, Median weekly income from all sources, for all people, June quarter 2008 to 2015.

In the year to the June 2015 quarter, median weekly income from government transfers (for those receiving income from this source) increased $12 (4.0 percent), to reach $315. The increase was for both men and women, and for people aged 65 years and over.

Benefit rate adjustments were made to main benefits (up 0.51 percent) and to New Zealand Superannuation (up 2.07 percent) on 1 April 2015.

In the June 2015 quarter, there were (on average), 554 wage and salary earners in every 1,000 people. This is the highest proportion since the survey began in 1997. This increase in number was mostly from more full-time workers, up 3.2 percent in the year to the June 2015 quarter. Over the last three years the proportion of the population earning wages and salaries has recovered as shown in the following graph.

Graph, Proportion of wage and salary earners, June quarter 1997 to 2015.

Wage and salary earners, and especially full-time workers, tend to receive higher income than the rest of the population. The greater number of wage and salary earners contributed to the rise in median weekly income for all people.

 Map, Median weekly income from all sources, by regional council area, June 2015 quarter.

More full-time earners push up hourly earnings

In the year to the June 2015 quarter, median hourly earnings (for those receiving wage and salary income) increased by 83 cents (3.8 percent) to $22.83. This was the largest annual percentage increase since the June 2009 quarter.

Graph, Percentage change in median hourly earnings, June quarter 2009 to 2015.

In the year to the June 2015 quarter, median hourly earnings for full-time wage and salary earners increased by 87 cents (3.7 percent) to $24.36. The proportion of full-time wage and salary earners was 76.9 percent in the June 2015 quarter, the highest since the survey began in 1997.

A higher proportion of full-time workers and higher earnings from full-time employment both contributed to the increase in median hourly earnings.

In the year to the June 2015 quarter, median hourly earnings also increased in some subgroups.

Sex

Median hourly earnings for men increased $1.06 (4.6 percent) to $24.07 while median hourly earnings for women increased non-significantly, up 50 cents (2.4 percent) to $21.23. The increase for men was driven by more full-time workers, up 4.4 percent, and by higher median full-time hourly earnings, up $1.00 (4.2 percent) to $25.00.

The gender pay gap is a way to understand the differences in pay for males and females. The changes in hourly earnings for men and women resulted in a gender pay gap of 11.8 percent in the June 2015 quarter, compared with 9.9 percent in the June 2014 quarter, and 11.2 percent in the June 2013 quarter.

Graph, Gender pay gap, using median hourly earnings, June quarter 1998 to 2015.

See Measuring the gender pay gap for more information.

Ethnicity

Median hourly earnings increased for the following ethnic groups:

  • European – up 95 cents (4.1 percent) to $23.97
  • Pacific people – up $1.05 (5.8 percent) to $19.18
  • Asian – up $1.34 (6.8 percent) to $21.00.

Occupation and industry

Median hourly earnings also increased for:

  • labourers occupation group – up $1.00 (6.3 percent) to $17.00
  • retail trade and accommodation industry – up 63 cents (3.9 percent) to $16.63
  • manufacturing industry – up $1.46 (6.8 percent) to $23.04
  • arts, recreation, and other services industry – up $2.08 (11.1 percent) to $20.83

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

 

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