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Average Earnings Index and Average Weekly Earnings: Financial Times, 31 May 2007

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Financial Times, 31 May 2007

As part of an article on ONS relocation, the Financial Times drew attention to divergences between the Average Earnings Index (AEI) and the Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) data. Karen Dunnell wrote to point out that the AEI is not a 'predecessor' of the AWE, and that the latter is still an experimental measure.

Issue date: 31 May 2007
Type: Letter to the Press

Sir, I wish to correct errors in your story "Earnings growth causes concern" (31 May). The ONS data series on Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) is not the "ONS’s new, and supposedly improved, earnings measure" and the Average Earnings Index (AEI) is not "its predecessor". The AEI is a National Statistic. It is a sound, well-established measure, which users rely upon to make judgements on movements of earnings in the economy. The AWE is an experimental statistic. The methodology underpinning it has not been developed to a standard that allows it to be a National Statistic. Until that work is complete the AWE may not be a reliable measure, and we do not present it as such. It is published so that expert users can assist ONS in bringing it up to the quality required to be a National Statistic. We are currently reviewing the methodology for compiling the AWE with help from experts outside ONS and are keeping key stakeholders fully informed. There are a number of issues affecting the estimation of average weekly earnings, including the effect of irregular payments to employees, such as City bonuses. More information can be found at on the AWE publication page. Yours faithfully, Karen Dunnell National Statistician Office for National Statistics 1 Drummond Gate London SW1V 2QQ
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