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Wages rise 0.5% seasonally adjusted

15 November 2017

Earlier Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said wage prices rose in the third quarter, disappointing expectations for an increase of 0.7%.

Wages have lagged the recovery in the Australian labour market.

The WPI, seasonally adjusted, has recorded quarterly wages growth in the range of 0.4 to 0.6 per cent for the last 13 quarters (from the June quarter 2014).

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

Workers are still getting used to the "new black" of wages growth, which is running at just two per cent a year, a leading economist says. Even some industries which would have a high proportion of award workers (whose wages would have been boosted by the minimum wage), annual growth in wages slowed.

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ANZ senior economist Felicity Emmett said the lack of impact from the bigger than usual minimum wage rise suggested underlying wages growth actually slowed in the quarter.

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.

Data on Tuesday showed that USA producer prices increased by in October, exceeding expectations for a 0.1% uptick.

"In the current environment, low wage growth points to weak inflation and makes it hard for the Reserve Bank to justify higher interest rates", he says.

Western Australia recorded the lowest through the year wage growth of 1.3 per cent and Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania the highest of 2.2 per cent.

Wages rise 0.5% seasonally adjusted