ABS responds to Letter of the Day (Herald Sun, 25 November 2010)

I refer to the Letter of the Day (Herald Sun, 25 November 2010) from Mr Ricardo Rusch of Armadale. Mr Rusch raises concerns about the ABS' average weekly earnings (AWE) collection, in light of the current wages of one of his family members.

The AWE collection is carefully designed to measure the level of average earnings in Australia at a particular point in time. It does this by collecting information from approximately 5,000 businesses on their number of employees and their total gross weekly earnings for a specific pay period each quarter.

AWE statistics do not relate only to award rates or to the earnings of retail assistants paid under awards. The data collected for the retail trade industry relate to all employees of businesses in this industry, including sales staff, managers, technical support staff, and working directors.

Brian Pink
Australian Statistician