Wages growth plumbs another record low

By Leith van Onselen

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released its Wage Price Index for the December quarter of 2016, which revealed a continuation of weak wages growth across the economy, with annual wages growth falling to the lowest rate in the series’ 19 year history (see below charts).

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According to the ABS, wages grew by 0.48% (both s.a. and trend) in the December quarter. Private sector wages grew by 0.40% (both s.a. and trend) over the quarter, whereas public sector wages grew by 0.55% (both s.a. and trend).

Over the year, total wages grew by just 1.87% (both s.a. and trend), with the private sector experiencing 1.80% growth (both s.a. and trend) and the public sector 2.25% growth (both s.a. and trend).

You can see from the next chart, which plots non-seasonally adjusted wages growth on an annual basis (in order to reduce volatility), that wages growth is weak everywhere, but is especially poor in WA (1.4%):

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In a similar vein, wages growth is weak across most industries, with the exception of Healthcare (+2.4%), with yesterday’s hero, mining (+1.0 YoY%) and the real estate parasites (+1.2%), suffering the biggest downturns:

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Yet again, there’s little joy in this release for workers, with wages growth continuing on the slow path, which will make paying-off household’s record debt loads all the more difficult.

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