Fri, 29 May 2020

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Growth in wages has been a major problem around the world. With flat and declining economies, and companies unwilling to invest, workers have borne the brunt of shrinking margins between revenues and costs.

One bright light shone at least in one part of the world this week - New Zealand.

The tiny country across the Tasman from Australia, which has been struggling with wages stagnation for years, has report solid increases in kiwi pay packets.

Stats NZ revealed on Wednesday average weekly ordinary time earnings are up by $83 since the current government took office.

This shows that working New Zealanders are getting higher take-home pay, and that employers are investing in their workers.

Stats NZ said that average ordinary time hourly earnings continued to grow above 4% over the past year. Growth of 4.2% was near the decade-high seen last quarter.

By another measure - the Labour Cost Index - Stats NZ said wages were rising at their fastest rate in over a decade.

"Data showed the unemployment rate continues to remain low. September's reading of 4.2% is the third-lowest in a decade. While it's up slightly from the 11-year low of 3.9% last quarter, it's below the 4.7% rate that we inherited," Labour MP Willie Jackson said Wednesday.

"This is a strong result given the global headwinds that the economy is facing, like the US-China trade war and uncertainty caused by Brexit. The low unemployment, low interest rates and low Government debt mean we are well-placed to counter the global uncertainty."

The statistics also show there are now more Maori and Pacific people in employment than this time last year.

"I am pleased that we continue to see improved outcomes for Maori and Pasifika. As I've said in the past, these figures represent real people, which makes a significant difference to communities and regions across the country," Willie Jackson said.

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