Workers get wages back but wage growth still at record lows

workers get wages back but wage growth still at record lows

Over the past year, private wages have climbed by 1.4 per cent while public wages are up by 1.6 per cent.


The bureau’s head of prices statistics, Michelle Marquardt, said the December result had been lifted by wages going back to normal in certain parts of the economy.

“December quarter’s moderate growth was influenced by businesses rolling back short-term wage reductions, returning wages to pre-COVID levels,” she said.

Wages in the education and training sector have been the fastest growing in the country, up by 2.4 per cent over the past year. The slowest sector has been hospitality with wages up by just 0.3 per cent.

Annual inflation is currently 0.9 per cent but that is expected to lift strongly this quarter, suggesting many workers will have suffered a real fall in wage income through much of the pandemic recession.

EY chief economist Jo Masters warned that a substantial wage rise for most workers was some time away, which would make it difficult for the economy to sustain any inflationary pressures.

“While we may see faster inflation in coming quarters, a sustained rise in inflation seems unlikely against the backdrop of such weak wage growth,” she said.

BIS Oxford Economics chief economist Sarah Hunter said the slow growth in the public sector would eventually hold back private sector wages growth…

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