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Australia wage growth accelerated to 0.8% in Q1, highest in over a decade

Australia wage price index posted 0.8% qoq increase in Q1 2023, slightly short of expected 0.9% rise. Despite this, annual wage growth accelerated to 3.7%, marking the highest level since Q3 2012. This uptick is attributable to a combination of factors, including low unemployment, tight labour market, and high inflation.

Private sector emerged as the primary engine of growth, with wages climbing 0.8% over Q1 and experiencing an annual rise of 3.8%. According to Leigh Merrington, ABS’s acting head of prices statistics, several private sector industries witnessed an annual wage growth exceeding 4%, with the remaining industries all recording an annual growth above 3%.

In the public sector, the highest quarterly (0.9%) and annual (3.0%) wage growth in a decade was reported. Increase in public sector wages is attributed to outcomes from enterprise agreement bargaining, regular scheduled rises, and higher wage caps.

Merrington further highlighted wage outcomes for Q1 2023, stating, “There was a continued lift in the share of jobs receiving wage rises of between 4 and 6 per cent, which is the highest share since 2009. The share of jobs with a wage rise of 2 per cent or less has fallen from over 50 per cent in mid-2021 to less than 20 per cent.”

Full Australia wage price index release here.

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