Here's how much the average Australian earns a week

Photo: iStock

Only a day after learning that Australian hourly wages grew at the slowest annual pace on record in 2016, the ABS has released its separate average weekly earnings report.

And, like the wage price index, the news is sobering.

According to the ABS, average weekly earnings for Australians grew by just 1.6% to $1,164.60 in the 12 months to November last year, down from the 2% annual pace when the report was last released in May 2016.

Over the year, and accounting for the leap year, that equated to average earnings of $60,892 over the 12-month period.

Full-time employees fared better a little better than the headline rate, seeing average weekly earnings lift 2.2% to $1,592.40 over the same period.

By gender, the ABS said that average full-time weekly earnings for males rose by 1.8% to $1,631, outpaced by a 3.2% lift in average weekly earnings among females to $1,388.70.

So less, but the pay gap on this metric is closing.

In terms of average earnings for all male and female employees — including full-time, part-time and casual employees — those for men rose by 1.6%, slightly below the 1.8% increase reported for females.

This table shows both the total amount and year-on-year growth in average weekly earnings by gender in trend terms.

Source: ABS

And here’s a similar table, showing the split between private and public sector workers in original terms.

Source: ABS

As seen in Wednesday’s wage price index, average weekly earnings for public sector workers were far stronger than in the private sector, growing 3.1% compared to 1.2%.

Yes, just 1.2% for the sector employing the vast majority of Australians, and below the inflation rate at 1.5%.

Public sector workers also earned far more, averaging $1,390.80 per week versus $1,110.40 for the private sector.

Reflective of that trend, workers in the ACT currently earn the most of all states and territories at $1,747. Tasmania was at the other end of the spectrum with average earnings totalling $1,345.10 per week.

Source: ABS

And here are the average weekly earnings per worker by industry in the 12 months to November, in unadjusted terms.

Source: ABS

While the mining sector recorded the slowest growth in hourly wages in 2016, workers in the sector are still paid the most on average at $2,572.40 per week.

The average weekly earnings report estimates the average value of wages and salaries paid to employees by an employer over a specified period, and takes into consideration both hourly rates of pay and the amount of hours worked.

This differentiates it from the wage prices index which measures changes in hourly rates of pay.

Average weekly earnings is simply derived by dividing the total earnings by the total number of employees in Australia in a week.

The shift to part-time employment — growing strongly at a time when full-time employment is declining — goes someway to explaining the weak annual result.

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