Aussie workers worse off now than GFC

The June quarter Business Indicators report was released by the ABS, which includes aggregate wages & salaries data, namely “gross earnings before taxation and other deductions” and “includes provisions for employee entitlements”.

In order to get a better sense of how Australian workers are faring, I have deflated this aggregate nominal wages & salaries data to real values (using the consumer price index) and real per capita values (using the latest population data).

Below are the charts presented in index form since the series’ inception in March 2001.

First, the national picture:

Real per capital wages & salaries nationally have fallen by 1.7% since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) struck in September 2008.

Next NSW:

Real per capital wages & salaries in NSW have risen just 1.5% since the GFC struck in September 2008:

Next Victoria:

Real per capital wages & salaries in VIC have fallen 4.5% since the GFC struck in September 2008.

Next Queensland:

Real per capital wages & salaries in QLD have fallen 6.3% since the GFC struck in September 2008:

Next Western Australia:

Real per capital wages & salaries in WA have risen just 2.0% since the GFC struck in September 2008.

Next South Australia:

Real per capital wages & salaries in SA have fallen 6.3% since the GFC struck in September 2008.

Next Tasmania:

Real per capital wages & salaries in TAS have fallen 8.9% since the GFC struck in September 2008.

Next ACT:

Real per capital wages & salaries in the ACT have fallen 10.6% since the GFC struck in September 2008.

And to round things out, here’s the Northern Territory:

By contrast, real per capital wages & salaries in the NT have surged 29.0% since the GFC struck in September 2008.

Finally, here’s the per capita summary by jurisdiction:

It should be emphasised that the above charts measure real aggregate wages & salaries on a per capita basis (i.e. divided by every man women and child), rather than on a per employee basis, so it does not take into consideration changes in the employment-to-population ratio (this was 62.7% in September 2008 versus 62.6% in April 2019).

Regardless, the above charts suggest that Australian workers’ living standards have fallen since the GFC, masked on an aggregate level – and caused in part by – breakneck population growth (immigration).

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