Wages growth at a snail’s pace

Australian crawl.

Ah, mate.

Wages grew by just +0.48 per cent in the September 2017 quarter, to be +2.01 per cent higher over the year.

Superficially this looks like a bit of an improvement, and at least it can be said that wages are growing a bit ahead of the rate of inflation. Just.

Wages growth chart

And including bonuses the annual increase was a slightly more upbeat +0.7 per cent for the quarter, and +2.2 per cent for the year. 12426376 L

However, the result this quarter was pumped up by the minimum wage increase, and you can see in the chart below that a number of industries (such as accommodation & food) how this inflated the quarterly numbers.

Over the year the industries with the most robust wage price growth included healthcare & social assistance (+2.7 per cent), arts & recreation services (+2.7 per cent), and education & training (+2.4 per cent).

On the other hand wages growth in the mining sector (+1.2 per cent) remains very low, as it does in professional, scientific, & tech services (+1.5 per cent).


Annual wage price growth in the private sector remains super-low at just +1.86 per cent, with wage price growth in the public sector some way higher at +2.37 per cent.

The public sector index has outpaced the private sector since the peak of the resources construction boom.

resources construction boom

Resources states slow

At the state level Queensland, Victoria, and Tasmania each recorded wages growth of +2.2 per cent, while New South Wales (+2.1 per cent) also recorded reasonable growth.

However, there were considerably weaker results in Western Australia (+1.3 per cent) and the Northern Territory (+1.4 per cent).

Western Australia and the Northern Territory

Western Australia recorded the fastest pace of wages growth through the mining boom, but is now coming back to the pack.

wages growth through the mining boom

The wrap

Overall, while it’s positive to note annual wages growth moving a bit higher and ahead of the rate inflation, in reality this was a very soft result which missed expectations, having been puffed up by the minimum wage increase.

Not much in the way of pre-Xmas cheer to be found here!


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Pete Wargent


Pete is a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Secretary and has a Financial Planning Diploma. Using a long term approach to building businesses, investing in equities, & owning a portfolio he achieved financial independence at the age of 33. Visit his blog

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