Australia Pay-Packets Stay Slim as Private Firms Keep Up Squeeze

Australian wages growth remained subdued in the three months through June, maintaining a record low for the second straight quarter as the economy grinds its way through a post-mining boom adjustment.

Key Points

  • Wage-price index rose 0.5 percent from the previous quarter, matching economist estimates
  • Index increased 2.1 percent year-on-year; economists predicted 2 percent
  • Wholesale trade workers’ wage growth jumped most quarter-on-quarter, rising 0.7 percentage point to 0.9 percent
  • Public sector wages increased 2.4 percent from a year earlier, compared with 2 percent for private workers

Economist Takeaways

“Weakness in productivity growth is in our view the key driver of the recent softness in wage pressures,” said Phil Odonaghoe at Deutsche Bank AG. “It will be some time before wage pressures place material upside pressure on consumer price outcomes.”

Big Picture

Australian wage growth has come in at a record low for two straight quarters; part of the weakness represents miners finding new jobs that are lower paid. The upside is that, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia, it’s encouraged employers to hire more people; and in keeping consumer-price growth low, it’s allowed policy makers to cut interest rates to a record 1.5 percent without fear of unleashing high inflation.

The Details

  • Among states, the largest quarterly rise of 0.5 percent was recorded by Australian Capital Territory
  • Lowest rise of 0.2 percent recorded by Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory
  • Annual changes ranged from 1.3 percent for mining to 2.6 percent for electricity, gas, water and waste-services workers
  • The lowest quarterly rise for all industries of 0.1 percent was recorded by retail trade
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