Wage and payroll statistics for March 2022
According to the figures released today (June 27) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the average wage rate for all the selected industry sections surveyed, as measured by the wage index, increased by 1.8% in nominal terms in March 2022 over a year earlier.
About 53% of the companies reported increase in average wage rates in March 2022 compared with a year ago. A total of 43% of the companies recorded decrease in average wage rates over the same period. The remaining 4% reported virtually no change in average wage rates.
After discounting the changes in consumer prices as measured by the Consumer Price Index (A), the overall average wage rate for all the selected industry sections surveyed remained virtually unchanged in real terms in March 2022 over a year earlier.
As for payroll, the index of payroll per person engaged for all the industry sections surveyed increased by 0.8% in nominal terms in the first quarter of 2022 over a year earlier.
After discounting the changes in consumer prices as measured by the Composite Consumer Price Index, the average payroll per person engaged decreased by 0.7% in real terms in the first quarter of 2022 compared with a year earlier.
The wage rate includes basic wages and other regular and guaranteed allowances and bonuses. Payroll includes elements covered by wage rate as well as other irregular payments to workers such as discretionary bonuses and overtime allowances. The payroll statistics therefore tend to show relatively larger quarter-to-quarter changes, affected by the number of hours actually worked and the timing of payment of bonuses and back-pay.
For the nominal wage indices, while most selected industry sections surveyed recorded a year-on-year increase in March 2022, ranging from 1.6% to 3.0%, the transportation section and personal services section recorded a year-on-year decrease of 0.2% and 1.0% respectively.
For the real wage indices, year-on-year decreases ranging from 0.1% to 2.7% were recorded in the import/export, wholesale and retail trades section; transportation section; accommodation and food service activities section; and personal services section in March 2022. Yet, the manufacturing section remained virtually unchanged when compared with that in March 2021 while the other industry sections surveyed recorded year-on-year increases of 0.7% to 1.2%.
The year-on-year changes in the nominal and real wage indices for the selected industry sections from March 2021 to March 2022 are shown in Table 1.
As for the nominal indices of payroll per person engaged, year-on-year increases ranging from 0.1% to 2.3% were recorded in all selected industry sections surveyed in the first quarter of 2022, except the retail trade section, accommodation and food service activities section, and social and personal services section where year-on-year decreases ranging from 0.2% to 0.7% were recorded.
For the real payroll indices, the year-on-year changes recorded by different industry sections surveyed in the first quarter of 2022 varied. Year-on-year decreases ranging from 1.3% to 2.2% were recorded in the industry sections of manufacturing; import/export and wholesale trades; retail trade; transportation, storage, postal and courier services; accommodation and food service activities; and social and personal services. The other industry sections surveyed recorded year-on-year increases of 0.4% to 0.8%.
The year-on-year changes in the nominal and real indices of payroll per person engaged for selected industry sections from the first quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022 are shown in Table 2. The quarterly changes in the seasonally adjusted nominal and real indices of payroll per person engaged in the same period are shown in Table 3.
A Government spokesman said that the average wage rate for all selected industries rose by 1.8% year-on-year in nominal terms in March 2022, the same pace of increase as in December 2021. After discounting for inflation, the average wage rate was virtually unchanged in real terms from a year earlier.
Payroll per person engaged, which includes basic wage, discretionary bonuses and other irregular payments, recorded a decelerated year-on-year increase of 0.8% in nominal terms in the first quarter of 2022. With business severely disrupted by the fifth wave of local epidemic, nominal payroll per person engaged in the consumption-related industries, i.e. accommodation and food service activities, and retail trade, switched to slight declines, and that in the social and personal services industry showed a somewhat wider decrease. On the other hand, nominal payroll per person engaged in other industries posted modest to moderate increases, but the increases in some of these industries (such as transportation, storage, postal and courier services; and manufacturing) were due to low bases of comparison.
The spokesman added that the latest figures reflected the situation up to March 2022 only and have yet to reflect the effect of the revival of domestic economic activities more recently amid the moderated local epidemic and the gradual relaxation of social distancing measures. Provided that the local epidemic remains under control, domestic economic activities and thus labour market conditions should continue to improve in the rest of 2022. The various support measures rolled out by the Government will also help. It is essential for the community to work in unison with the Government to keep the epidemic contained. Meanwhile, the Government will continue to monitor the developments closely.
Both wage indices and payroll indices are compiled quarterly based on the results of the Labour Earnings Survey (LES) conducted by the C&SD.
Wage statistics are conceptually different from the payroll statistics. Firstly, wage rate for an employee refers to the sum earned for his normal hours of work. It covers basic wages and other regular and guaranteed allowances and bonuses, but excludes earnings from overtime work and discretionary bonuses, which are however included in payroll per person engaged. Secondly, the payroll index of an industry is an indicator of the simple average payroll received per person engaged in the industry. Its movement is therefore affected by changes in wage rates, number of hours of work and occupational composition in the industry. In contrast, the wage index of an industry is devised to reflect the pure changes in wage rate, with the occupational composition between two successive statistical periods being kept unchanged. In other words, the wage index reflects the change in the price of labour. Thirdly, wage index only covers employees up to the supervisory level (i.e. not including managerial and professional employees), whereas payroll index covers employees at all levels and proprietors actively engaged in the work of the establishment. Because of these conceptual and enumeration differences between payroll and wage statistics, the movements in payroll indices and in wage indices do not necessarily match closely with each other.
It should also be noted that different consumer price indices are used for compiling the real indices of wage and payroll to take into account the differences in their respective occupation coverage. Specifically, the Composite Consumer Price Index, being an indicator of overall consumer prices, is taken as the price deflator for payroll of workers at all levels of the occupational hierarchy. The Consumer Price Index (A), being an indicator of consumer prices for the relatively low expenditure group, is taken as the price deflator for wages in respect of employees engaged in occupations up to the supervisory level.
Detailed breakdowns of the payroll and wage statistics are published in the "Quarterly Report of Wage and Payroll Statistics, March 2022". Users can download the publication at the website of the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) (www.censtatd.gov.hk/en/EIndexbySubject.html?pcode=B1050009&scode=210).
For enquiries on wage and payroll statistics, please contact the Wages and Labour Costs Statistics Section (1) of the C&SD (Tel: 2887 5550 or email: email@example.com).
Ends/Monday, June 27, 2022
Issued at HKT 16:30
Issued at HKT 16:30