Gross earnings up €500 at end of last year - CSO
Published 26/02/2016 | 02:30
Gross average earnings were around €500 higher by the end of last year than the same period in 2014.
Average weekly earnings before tax were €712.75 at the end of December - up 1.4pc from the €702.61 a year earlier.
That means gross annual pay was, on average at the end of last year, around €37,063, up from €36,535 at the end of December 2014.
The pace of growth in wages softened as the year drew to a close, easing from the 3.1pc increase seen in the year to the end of September.
Despite this, economists said wage growth was broad-based and across a number of sectors, but some areas saw cuts.
David McNamara of Davy Stockbrokers said further pay gains were expected over the course of this year, which would help boost the economy.
"Looking ahead, the new public pay deal and increases in the national minimum wage suggest that the recent positive trend in wages will continue in 2016, and this should continue to support strong consumer spending growth," he said.
Earnings increased in nine of the 13 sectors, with the biggest increases seen in administrative and support services, which rose to €549.76 on average from €500.42.
The financial, insurance and real estate sector saw the biggest falls, dropping to €1,029.58 from €1,076.12.
Those working in the information and communications sector, which includes those in publishing, software publishing and sound recording, earn gross weekly pay of €1,075.03 on average, or €55,901 per year. The lowest paid sector is accommodation and food services, which includes hotels and restaurants, with average weekly earnings of €321.51, or €16,718 per year.
The outgoing Government boosted take home pay in Budget 2016 through cuts to the Universal Social Charge (USC), including a reduction in the top rate from 7pc to 5.5pc.
Fine Gael has promised to abolish the USC if voters re-elect it today, while Fianna Fáil has promised to reform it. Sinn Féin wishes to retain the levy, saying it is fundamental for public services, as does the Social Democrats, while Renua wants to abolish the USC self- employed rate.
The Central Statistics Office data, however, does not take account of tax changes as they are gross figures.
Average weekly earnings in the public sector rose by 2.2pc last year. Six of the seven sub sectors had annual increases, with the semi-state sector and gardaí recording the biggest jumps.