It looks like Australian wage growth has turned the corner with the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) wage price index lifting by 0.55% over the December quarter, leaving the increase on a year earlier at 2.08%.
The annual rate was the fastest in two years, and above the record-low of 1.88% struck in the final quarter of 2016, adding to confidence that wage pressures are slowly building.
However, that was not reflective of pay growth for all Australian workers.
Public sector wages grew by 2.44% over the year, significantly faster than private sector workers whose pay went up by just 1.93% over the same period.
As seen in the chart below from the ABS, there was an even wider gap between pay rates for individual industries over the year, ranging from 1.4% for the mining industry to 2.8% for health care and social assistance workers.
These figures are not seasonally adjusted by the ABS.
While some workers are clearly seeing their wages grow faster than others, the broader theme is that wage growth remains far below what it once was, a fact we’re all unfortunately reminded by thanks to the scale used in the X axis of the chart.
That’s where annual wage growth used to sit for some individual industries.
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