Cyclical Earnings Variation and the Composition of Employment

This paper was commissioned as part of the LEED Research Report by Statistics New Zealand

This paper uses Statistics New Zealand"s Linked Employer-Employee Database (LEED) to assess the extent and impact of such changes in the employment composition of workers and firms over this period. LEED provides comprehensive coverage of all wage and salary employment since 1999. It enables longitudinal linking of both workers and firms, and also of the jobs that link them.

As the LEED data do not directly measure hours worked or hourly wages, we construct a measure of the full-time equivalent (FTE) annual earnings rate associated with each job observed.

Our analysis uses a linear model that regresses log (FTE annual earnings) on worker demographics (sex and age) and aggregate male and female time effects, and also controls for the effects of constant unobserved worker and firm specific factors.

We use the estimates from this model, together with the employment transition patterns of workers and firms over the period, to investigate in detail the effects of compositional change on average earnings.