The average annual basic salary rose to €16,329 in the first quarter, up three per cent over last year, figures out yesterday showed.

The highest average basic salary, at €21,308, was registered in the information and communication sector, where the increase was more than double the national average.

However, the biggest increase was registered in the financial and insurance sector, where the average basic salary rose by 11 per cent this year to reach €20,442. The annual basic salary excludes bonuses and overtime payments.

The figures formed part of the labour force survey released by the National Statistics Office.

The survey showed that employment numbers stood at 181,537, accounting for more than half the population aged 15 and over. The number of unemployed people dropped marginally to 3.1 per cent, or 11,012, while 46.3 per cent of people aged 15 and over were inactive.

Employed men were mostly engaged in the wholesale and retail trade, transportation and storage, accommodation and food service sectors.

Women who worked were mostly engaged in public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities.

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