Australian households freeze in seven year economic winter

By Leith van Onselen

The March quarter national accounts was another shocker for Australian households.

According to the ABS, the real average compensation per employee rose by only 1.5% in the year to March 2019, and was 3.2% lower than March 2012:

Yesterday, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) also released real household disposable income (HDI) data, derived from the March quarter national accounts, which revealed that real per capita HDI fell by 0.8% over the year.

The below chart tracks quarterly real per capita HDI:

As you can see, quarterly real per capita HDI has fallen by 1.1% since December 2011!

Below is the same chart presented on a 4QMA basis:

Here, real per capita HDI has fallen by 0.4% since June 2012.

To add further insult to injury, the growth in real per capita HDI so far this decade remains anaemic at just 0.58% per annum, which is way lower than the 1960s (2.29%), 1970s (1.84%), 1980s (0.91%), 1990s (1.31%), and 2000s (3.23%):

Just another indicator of Australia’s ‘lost decade’ meme, which MB has warned about throughout.

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    • proofreadersMEMBER

      Indeed – the “burn” (slow but relentless) of the majority of Strayan households continues. How good is that, Straya?

  1. reusachtigeMEMBER

    LOLOLOLOL! Successful people don’t get wealthy from wages. They’ve got rich off property, massively! I really do hate non-successful types as they create this rubbish data people are lead to believe.

    • BradleyMEMBER

      As a person who has increased his wages income substantially lately(albeit from a low base), I consider myself reasonably successful these days because whilst gaining wealth from property, I haven’t spent any of it. I do spend wages but I am trying not to as I consider prudence at this time a subtle form of anarchy. I may do an European vacation next year to spend money there though. Back in the day the ex and I would do the refinance , home as an ATM thing. It was mainly her idea and seeing as I’m divorced now I can run my own economics program. I am not rich or popular like Reusa these days but my no debt, increasing savings and no care if my home plummets in value philosophy makes me more relaxed than a stoner with 10 kg stash.

      • DominicMEMBER

        Sounds very un-Australian, Bradley, but more power to you. I hope you’re not raided by the AFP for being un-patriotic.

      • BradleyMEMBER

        Yes MB, that sort of sums it up. Am doing the finishing touches to my historic motorcycle restoration, am learning new songs on my 70’s Aria hollow body Diamonds and hitting the gym/swim routine 4 or 5 days a week. Reckon I will be joining SAP to make myself even more unpopular after wasting my time with Labor the last 2 elections. FTW indeed and I guess I am becoming more of a prepper by the day. No wonder this baldy boomer rock dog lives by himself in a town tainted by the shooter but were life is actually pretty good ( and has plenty of water).

      • +1 on the not spending, also I consider not speeding a small personal anarchy.
        omg Reus is gonna be triggered.

      • Diogenes the CynicMEMBER

        Good work Bradley. Try Eastern Europe or some of the ‘Stans. Very interesting places, not expensive to travel, with cheap beer and friendly locals.

      • I’m lucky the missus lets me manage the finances that’s why we almost have 0 debt. I say almost because she managed to rack up some credit card debt to pay wedding stuff and I’ve been paying it off month by month so that we don’t pay 18% interest on it.

        Outside of that she still has some HECS debt to take care of, that’s next. Then we owe nobody nothing. However I wish I could say I sleep easy. But the thought of bank bail in or other creative nonsense from the RBA makes my stomach turn a bit.

      • Locus of ControlMEMBER

        Are you from the Top End too Bradley?

        Yeah, no debt and being cashed up is empowering. It lowers your tolerance for the BS around you, but simultaneously increases your zen, because, what’s the worst that could happen if you have a good monetary buffer? That said, some of the best things in life can’t be bought and it sounds like you know it. Keep on keeping on.

      • BradleyMEMBER

        No LOC, I am in Grafton. Yes, debt free is empowering. Even though my new p/t gig pays well, I won’t shed a tear if it disappears as the economy tightens and my boss decides a presence in this region is no longer required.

      • Gods are often misportrayed as selfish and mean by we mortals. We just lack the ability to comprehend them through our limited frame of reference. We should just be grateful that he has managed to find a medium through which to spread the eternal truth. Whether or not we accept it and let it into our hearts is something that not even Reusa has power over.

    • proofreadersMEMBER

      Reusa – you know that various dictators have always had, a solution for “unsuccessful” people.

    • Exactly bloody right.

      Those non-losers who pulled their finger out and got on the property ladder 7 years ago are up $400k-$600k on each property they bought.

      Everyone else has only themselves to blame.

      • Another god. We mortals have a lot to learn from the mythical beings that have chosen the MB forum as their vessel.

      • Footsore. You’re safer with me.

        If Reusa chooses you as his vessel….. watch out!

      • Placing faith in Reusa allows one to be on a perpetual bender. His is the only group that is exempted from all drug laws as it would be religious discrimination to arrest the attendees of the necessary relations ceremonies.

    • Indeed … unless you are in the upper 5% of income earners and have a partner that also works and makes 75k+ before tax, you will only succeed if you are born into money and also simultaneously engage in epic levels of tax avoidance and rent seeking (or should that be rent gouging).
      I have a feeling that many of our newly arrived vibrants are slow to catch on to how the system will chew them up.
      The only thing they have going for them is that compared to where they have come from, even our eroding health care/education systems and our infrastructure is still well above in quality compared to what they are used to.
      But just wait until their kids hit their early 20’s and the opportunities to do better than their parents (which was once part of the Australian dream) are just not there.

    • Im not rich, but own our home and 2 businesses and work 1 day a week. but then again it depends on what you define as being rich.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if the RBA was only getting around to 2018 data now. They’ve been busy you know.

      • DingwallMEMBER

        Yea apparently they have been deliberating on the key things. Second in importance behind their property portfolios is the RBA wine and cigar cellar. They have rerouted MARTIN to scan worldwide markets and hoover up those that will be prime drinking and puffing while they are still in office. Third is obviously their weekly poker nights …

  2. Stewie GriffinMEMBER

    New “Australian” Ezekiel Mbuto who first moved to regional Australia at Coffs Harbour with his wife and three children, before moving to Sydney, almost killed his entire family with carbon monoxide poisoning when he got a +$1,000 electricity bill that he could not manage on his $400 a fortnight welfare cheque and instead tried to use a charcoal burner to keep his family warm.

    So we import people, pay them welfare so they can consume over priced electricity and have themselves gas themselves and family to death when they can’t afford it.

    Obviously the solution to this problem is to tax existing Australians even more, so that the welfare we pay to the immigrants we import to go on welfare is sufficient for them to at least pay for the over priced utilities and tax farms we run in Australia, without the live stock risking hurting themselves.

    Australia’s economic model is truly a paragon of virtue.

    • DominicMEMBER

      Charles Darwin is rolling in his grave as we speak. History will not treat this generation kindly.

      • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

        Virtue is flooding Aust with a forever burden and having them gas themselves to death in Harry Triguboffs apartments while living on welfare that we created for the less fortunate in our own society.

      • All I am going to say is that, the large, dark continent is not known for producing High IQ.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Instead of “work for the dole” schemes we should be spending money on programs that teach practical, Common Sence lessons to our needy welfare recipients.
      Stuff like how to buy a blanket from Kmart and how to prepare 2 minute noodles, and the correct use of toilet paper, etc etc
      And of course practical tips on not killing yourself and your entire family.
      It’s a disgrace we are not funding such programs.

      • Re the correct use of bog roll, I worked in a building in the cbd that had a sign up from building management instructing people how to use a toilet when taking a dump. Ie no squatting on the toilet.

      • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

        I’ve got problem paying welfare to our Australians in need, which goes without saying includes our indigenous peoples.

        I’ve got a big problem with importing “our” Australians like Ezekiel Mbuto who will remain in need (forever) and compete for the resources of other Australians in need, like say our indigenous peoples.

      • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

        J Bauer – your problem is one that an increasing number of Australians share.

        I work in the offices of one of our major banks – for the benefit of our newly imported workforce they’ve put up signs on the back of toilet doors everywhere warning of the perils of taking a squat on the toilet seats instead of sitting on them… still occasionally open a stall in need of taking a dump to find a turd sprayed across the top of the seat.

      • National service if you can’t get a job within 12 months would be a good start. Teach people some respect as well. ✊
        Waiting for all the reasons why we CAN’T do it in 3 2 1

      • boomengineeringMEMBER

        On the other hand, I worked repairing an Asian ship in the seventies which had a row of holes in the floor with painted foot prints either side of each hole. In a way instructing us whites how to. The holes were quite small so don’t know how they aimed in a swell.

      • As fun as it is to blame toilet mess on vibrants. I work in a office where I see similar issues. I don’t think it’s specifically a vibrant issue. Some people have trouble using bathrooms in an acceptable manner.

        I hear people on the can using their phones. I’ve seen them peeing at urinals while scrolling on their phones etc..

      • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

        Agreed – a mate of mine revealed he drank his coffee on the bog while flicking through his phone… still the only people he’s going to make sick is himself and those he tells, not the next person who needs to use the facilities.

        There’s another bog monster who manages to block one of the limited number of toilet stalls each morning by using an entire roll of toilet paper. The guy must have two assholes… the really disgusting and annoying thing about it, is that not only does it shut down a valuable dunny each morning but he expects some poor cleaner, no doubt an imported Uni Student, to clean it up for him…. EVERY SINGLE DAY.

      • Stewie – I’m WITH you and AGAINST the squatters spraying sh!t I’m the seats.

        It is disgusting.

      • Stewie, buy a cheap toilet plunger/toilet brush, package it and anonymously mail it to him at work.
        Maybe with a note attached.

  3. proofreadersMEMBER

    Talking of economic winters, the independent Federal Remuneration Tribunal just ticked off a 2% pay rise for Federal pollies ($11k for ScoMo, and $4k for backbenchers) commencing 1 July – apparently, the same day that 700,000 low-paid workers will have their penalty rates cut. How good is Straya.

  4. proofreadersMEMBER

    Just received a somewhat intellectually-insulting email from one of the big 4 enticing me that I could reach my savings goal faster with a term deposit – that’s after they have just just cut the rates even further.

    At call deposits earned 6% pa in 2010, whereas the best term deposit rate for up to 12 months from the big 4 is barely 2% pa now and all will be under 2% pa with the next and imminent cash rate cut. Now that is true financial repression.

    Are the big 4 a bit worried that some of their existing term deposit base is about to walk to other asset classes?


      “Are the big 4 a bit worried that some of their existing term deposit base is about to walk to other asset classes?”
      They couldn’t care less about depositors proof!

      Their game is selling debt and the concept that to build wealth, one MUST have a debt facility to make any sort of progress and the widespread adoption of Strayans to this belief means more and more debt on the books; i. e. the ‘mission’.
      Old school savers getting 6% would double their stash in 12 years (Rule of 72)
      Now, at 2%, you need 36 years!

      ANZ’s online saver ( for example) offers 0.50% currently and this means to double your l’il nest egg, you better be alive for 144 years.
      Just gear it up pal! It’s all that can work now (until it doesn’t).

    • DominicMEMBER

      They’re really not that worried by rates tending to zero because they know full well they’ll be bailed out with asset purchases.

      If they were truly on their own i.e. in a competitive environment, they’d be fighting tooth and nail for depositors’ money and TD rates would be going UP not DOWN. If you’re a banker it’s a win-win situation. Your greatest risk is earnings falling quite hard, but beyond that it’s plain sailing.