Average hourly wages rise only 1c in past four years

Average hourly earnings across the economy have risen by a meagre 1 cent to €22.23 since the worst of the economic crisis four years ago.

It suggests that the large numbers of unemployed and under-employed are keeping a brake on any wage increases despite the economic upturn.

CSO data published yesterday also showed average weekly earnings increased by €3.60 in the past year, but that only five of 13 employment sectors increased their wages.

Average weekly earnings in the quarter stood at €696.03, representing a 0.5% increase, or €3.60, from the €692.43 paid a year earlier.

Skills shortages drove average weekly earnings in the information and communication sector up by 5.8% in the year to €1,097.48, and wages in the sector are now over 15% higher than at the height of the economic crisis four years ago.

Weekly earnings in the private sector rose 0.6% in the year to €634.55, while earnings in the public sector, including semi-state companies, rose 0.1% to €904.19 a week over the same period.

“Capacity and price increases in the Irish economy should not emerge for some time given that the recovery is still at an early stage,” said Conall Mac Coille, chief economist at Davy Stockbrokers.

“Although falling rapidly, Ireland’s unemployment rate at 9.8% is still well above the UK and US — where wage growth has been modest at close to 2%,” he said.

Business group Isme called on the Government to postpone pay talks with public sector unions until after the election and appoint an independent pay commission because it fears that the public sector pay rises will put the economic recovery at risk.

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