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New Zealand Income Survey: June 2011 quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  06 October 2011
Commentary

Overview

Wage and salary income: From the June 2010 to June 2011 quarter, median hourly earnings increased $0.38 (1.9 percent) to $20.38 – the smallest annual percentage increase since the June 2000 quarter.

In the year to the June 2011 quarter, median hourly earnings for people in full-time employment increased 1.9 percent ($0.42) to $22.00. This was the smallest annual percentage increase for this measure since the June 2001 quarter.

Between the June 2010 and June 2011 quarters, median weekly wage and salary income, for those receiving income from this source, increased by 4.0 percent to $800. Contributing to this increase were: increases in total hours worked, a decrease in the proportion of people earning wages and salaries, and changes in the distribution of wage and salary earners.

Government transfer income: The number of people receiving income from government transfers increased 3.1 percent from the June 2010 to June 2011 quarter. Median weekly income from government transfers, for those who receive income from this source, increased $12 to $280 (4.4 percent), for the year to the June 2011 quarter. Contributing to these increases were rises for the 65 and over (65+) age group in both the number of people receiving income from this source (up 3.4 percent) and the median weekly income they received from government transfers (up 7.6 percent). Adjustments to New Zealand superannuation and some supplementary benefits drove the increase for the 65+ age group.

Income from all sources: Median weekly income for all people from all sources (including those with no source of income) increased $21 (3.9 percent) to $550 from the June 2010 to June 2011 quarter. Contributing to this was both the increase in median weekly wage and salary income, and the increase in median weekly government transfer income.

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

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Smallest increase in median hourly earnings in 11 years

From the June 2010 to June 2011 quarter, median hourly earnings increased slightly ($0.38 or 1.9 percent) from $20.00 to $20.38. This was the smallest annual percentage increase recorded in median hourly earnings since the June 2000 quarter increase of 1.5 percent.

Full-time employment: Median hourly earnings for people in full-time employment increased 1.9 percent ($0.42) to $22.00 in the year to the June 2011 quarter. This was the smallest percentage increase for this measure since a 1.4 percent increase in the June 2001 quarter. As full-time earners make up around 75 percent of those earning wages and salaries, changes in full-time median hourly earnings have a large effect on total median hourly earnings.

Males and females: Median hourly earnings for females slightly increased $0.50 to $19.50 for the year to the June 2011 quarter, while for males they slightly increased by $0.33 to $21.58. These increases resulted in a narrowing of the ratio of median hourly earnings between males and females.

The ratio of female to male median hourly earnings in the June 2011 quarter was 90.4 percent, up from 89.4 percent in the June 2010 quarter. This level was the highest since the survey began in 1997.

Median hourly earnings from full-time employment increased $0.73 to $21.35 for females, and $0.17 to $22.29 for males from the June 2010 to June 2011 quarter.

The ratio of female to male hourly wage and salary earnings for those in full-time employment also recorded its highest level since the survey began, at 95.8 percent in the June 2011 quarter.

A ratio of 100 percent would show that there was no difference between male and female earnings. These ratios do not take into account factors that could influence male and female earnings, for example occupation, qualifications gained, age, and hours worked.

Median weekly wage and salary income increases

Between the June 2010 and June 2011 quarters, median weekly wage and salary income, for those receiving income from this source, increased 4.0 percent to $800.

Average (mean) weekly income from wages and salaries, for those receiving income from this source, rose 2.5 percent in the year to the June 2011 quarter. This movement compares with the 4.3 percent annual increase recorded in average total weekly earnings from the Quarterly Employment Survey: June 2011 quarter.

 Graph, Median weekly income from wages and salaries for those receiving income from this source, June quarter, 2005 to 2011.

Three main factors contributed to the increase in median weekly wage and salary income for those receiving income from this source. From the June 2010 to June 2011 quarter:

  • there was an increase in total hours worked (aggregate), up 0.73 percent
  • the proportion of people earning wage and salary income decreased from 53.5 to 53.2 percent of people
  • the number of people earning wage and salary income, and whose income from this source was less than the median of $800 a week, decreased 2.6 percent (24,900 people) – this loss of people earning below the median caused a shift in the distribution of wage and salary income, resulting in a rise in median weekly income received from this source.

Males and females: In the June 2011 quarter, median weekly income from wages and salaries, for those receiving wage and salary income, was $920 for males and $663 for females.

Full-time, part-time status: For the year to the June 2011 quarter, there were increases in median weekly income from wages and salaries for:

  • those in full-time employment, up $21 to $921 (2.3 percent)
  • those in part-time employment, up $22 to $277 (8.6 percent).  

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65+ age group pushes government transfers up

Government transfers include income from benefits, student allowances, Accident Compensation Corporation, New Zealand superannuation, veteran's and war pensions, and tax credits such as Working for Families.

The number of people receiving income from government transfers increased 3.1 percent from the June 2010 to June 2011 quarter. Median weekly income from government transfers, for those who receive income from this source, also increased $12 to $280 (4.4 percent).

Contributing to these increases were rises for the 65+ age group. From the June 2010 to June 2011 quarter, for those aged 65+:

  • the numbers of people receiving government transfers increased 17,500 to 535,300 (3.4 percent)
  • median weekly income from government transfers, for those receiving income from this source, increased $21 to $301 (7.6 percent).

Adjustments to New Zealand superannuation and some supplementary benefits drove the increase in median weekly income from government transfers, for those receiving income from this source, for the 65+ age group.

Graph, People 65 years and over receiving income from government transfers, June quarter, 2006 to 2011. Graph, Median weekly income from government transfers, for people 65 years and over, June quarter, 2006 to 2011.


Males and females:
There were annual increases in median weekly income from government transfers, for those receiving income from this source, for both males (up $21 to $277) and females (up $18 to $292) in the June 2011 quarter. 

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Median weekly income from all sources increases

Median weekly income for all people from all sources (including those with no source of income) increased for the year to the June 2011 quarter, up $21 (3.9 percent) to $550. The change was influenced by increases in income from wages and salaries and government transfers.

Several factors contributed to the increase in income from wages and salaries, as discussed in the weekly wage and salary income section. 

 Graph, Median weekly income from all sources, total population, 2007 to 2011.

Age groups: The number of people in the 65+ age group increased 3.2 percent from the June 2010 to June 2011 quarter. This increase reflects the changing age demographics of the New Zealand population.

For the year to the June 2011 quarter, the 65+ age group has had the largest annual percentage increase in median weekly income from all sources, up 8.6 percent ($30) to $385. Several factors contributed to this rise, including:

  • New Zealand superannuation and some supplementary government transfer rates increased
  • the number of people receiving government transfers increased 17,500.


Average weekly income from all sources for those aged 65+ also increased, up 10.5 percent ($51) to $533.

Males and females: In the year to the June 2011 quarter there was an increase in median weekly income from all sources for males, up $25 to $700 (3.7 percent). There was no significant change for females; their median weekly income was relatively unchanged, at $432.  

Overall, average (mean) weekly income for all people from all sources was relatively unchanged, at $703 in the June 2011 quarter.

Other indicators

Household income: Median weekly household income from all sources increased 4.3 percent, from $1,236 in the June 2010 quarter to $1,289 in the June 2011 quarter. The change was influenced by increases in household income from wages and salaries and government transfers.

Average (mean) weekly household income from all sources was $1,525 in the June 2011 quarter, an increase from the June 2010 quarter figure of $1,484.

Regional income: From the June 2010 to June 2011 quarter, Taranaki was the only region to show a significant change in median weekly income from paid employment, up $43 (5.9 percent) to $767. Northland had the lowest median weekly income for those in paid employment at $660, while Wellington had the highest at $863, and Auckland the second-highest at $840.

Self-employment income: In the year to the June 2011 quarter, median weekly income from self-employment, for those receiving self-employment income, was unchanged at $575. The proportion of people receiving income from this source was also relatively unchanged at 10.5 percent of the working-age population.

Investment income: Median weekly income from investments, for those receiving income from this source, was relatively unchanged at $12 in the year to the June 2011 quarter. Over the same time period, the number of people receiving investment income increased 124,100 (11.8 percent). There were increases for both males (up 63,500 or 12.2 percent) and females (up 60,700 or 11.5 percent).

For more detailed data see the Excel tables under 'Downloads'.

For more information on industry, occupation, ethnicity, and household standards, see Consistency with other periods or datasets.

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

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