Pessimists rule as wage growth stays slow

15 November, 2017, 12:01 | Author: Regina Silva

The Bank has expressed confidence on a number of occasions that wage growth would improve, but that confidence will be tested by the weakness apparent in these numbers.

Economists had forecast a 0.7 per cent bump for the quarter and an annual rate of 2.2 per cent.

Public-sector wages rose 0.5% in the quarter and rose 2.4% from a year earlier.

Workers in the accommodation and food services industries had the highest quarterly rise of 1.7 per cent, while mining company employees saw their pay packets inch up by just 0.2 per cent, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on Wednesday.

The Australian dollar plunged after the figures were released, diving as low as 75.77 U.S. cents at 1306 AEDT, after trading at 76.29 USA cents just before the release.

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For a central bank expecting a gradual lift in wage pressures to help boost household consumption, GDP growth and inflation in the years ahead, this is a concerning result for the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), especially given how strong employment growth has been this year.

Wages have lagged the recovery in the Australian labour market.

The bulk of wage growth came from the public sector, which grew by 2.4 per cent over the past year.

Wage growth was highest in Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania at 2.2 per cent. Unsurprisingly, given its ongoing economic problems, Western Australia recorded the slowest wage growth nationally at 1.3 per cent.

The Australian wage growth is expected to creep higher over the coming years as spare capacity in the labour market is gradually being eroded, job insecurity has fallen, and businesses are reporting some pockets of difficulty in finding suitable labour, ANZ Research reported.

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