Average weekly earnings in the Irish economy rose by 4.3 per cent to €923.48 in the 12 months to the first quarter of this year, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO). This was up from €885.33 in the first quarter of last year.
The findings suggest that while wage growth is relatively strong it is not rising at an alarming rate on the back of wider inflationary pressures.
European Central Bank policymakers fear that if workers demand higher and higher wages to compensate for inflation the current elevated levels of price growth will be harder to bring down.
The 4.3 per cent rise incorporated the new public sector wage agreement, implemented in October, which gave public servants a 3 per cent salary hike, backdated to February 2022.
Average hourly earnings rose by 4.1 per cent to €28.55 from €27.42 in the first quarter, CSO said.
The best paid workers in the State were once again those in the information and communication sector, with average weekly earnings last year of €1,661.83, up over 10 per cent on an annual basis, and more than two-thirds ahead of the national average.
Workers in the accommodation and food services sector were the worst paid, with average weekly earnings of €420.82, but the sector includes many part-time staff.
The largest annual percentage increases in average weekly earnings were 10.1 per cent in the information and communication sector and 8.8 per cent in the public administration and defence sector. The latter reflected backdated pay from the new public sector wage agreement.
The average hourly rate of other labour costs increased 27.2 per cent across all economic sectors to €4.58 from €3.60 a year previously. A significant factor in this growth was the ending of the Government’s employment wage subsidy scheme (EWSS) in May, the CSO noted.
EWSS payments to enterprises were recorded as subsidies and refunds received and were deducted from other labour costs from the first quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of last year.