Australian wages stay low in December quarter

Peter Terlato 23 February 2017 NEWS

cash $100 bill notes Australia businessmen hand

Mining industry again suffers lowest annual wage growth.

Wage growth in Australia remained stagnant during the December quarter 2016, continuing the poor performance of the previous quarter, according to the latest statistics.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Wage Price Index (WPI) for December increased 0.5% quarter-on-quarter and rose just 1.9% through the year. Private sector jobs hit a new record low growth rate of 1.8% through the year, while public sector wages increased just 2.3% year-on-year.

Among both public and private industries, the greatest annual gains in wages growth were in education and training and health care and social assistance, both rising 2.4%.

Information media and telecommunication services recorded the highest quarterly wage gains at 1.1%.

Of private sector jobs, mining, wholesale trade, professional, scientific and technical services and other services had the lowest quarterly growth (0.1%).

For the second straight quarter, mining (1%) had the lowest annual growth since the inception of the WPI.

Analysing the public sector, quarterly wage growth gains were highest for those in health care and social assistance, up 0.8% in December.

Professional, scientific and technical services experienced the lowest annual wage growth, rising 1.5%.

Late last year the RBA and the ABS reported Australian wages were growing at the slowest rate since the late 1990s, with excess capacity, lower commodity prices and reduced pricing power to blame.

While wages growth suffers record low levels, health insurance premiums are rising at an alarming rate.

Later today the Fair Work Commission will hand down its decision on the future of weekend penalty rates.

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