If you work in Australia’s private sector and think your wage increase this year was less than normal, you’d most likely be right. According to the ABS’ quarterly wage price index they grew at the slowest rate on record in the 12 months to September.
Over the quarter private sector wages grew by a paltry 0.5%, leaving the annual increase at just 2.1%. The annual figure, below the 2.2% pace seen in the June quarter, was the lowest level recorded since the series first began in the third quarter of 1998.
Based on alternate wage growth measures, private sector wages are now likely growing at levels not seen since the early 1990s recession.
Compared to the private sector, public sector workers enjoyed a solid if not spectacular increase. In the three months to September wages rose by 0.7%, leaving the annual increase at a respectful 2.7%
Combined, overall wages increased by 0.6% during the quarter, leaving the annual rate at a fresh record low of 2.26%.
Here’s a chart of the recent trend in all three series. With the exception of the public service, wages growth has been steadily declining since mid-2012.
Reflective of recent labour market trends, workers in New South Wales enjoyed the largest quarterly increase at 1.0%. At the other end of the spectrum, those working in the ACT saw their wages grow by just 0.5%, the lowest of any state and territory.
From a year earlier Victorian workers enjoyed the fastest wage growth at 2.6%. The ACT, again, recorded the slowest increase at 1.6%.
The chart below, courtesy of the ABS, details quarterly and annual wages growth across individual industries.
Accommodation and food services workers recorded the largest quarterly increase of all industries at 1.6%, largely due to a 2.5% increase to the national minimum wage from the Fair Work Commission. The smallest gain was recorded for financial and insurance services workers at 0.2%.
Over the year all industries recorded wages growth, ranging from 1.5% for professional, scientific and technical services and administrative and support services to 3.0% for education and training.
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