RBA Governor Philip Lowe delivered a speech titled “Productivity, Wages and Prosperity” today. There he pointed out that “over the past couple of years, output growth has been subdued, but employment growth has been strong.” And, it’s productivity that’s holding the economy back. Low pointed to strong employment growth in household services, but output per hour worked was only 4% higher than it was in 2010. In contrast, the output per hour worked was up 13% to 16% in other industry groups.
He urged “strong ongoing focus on training, education and the accumulation of human capital” to bring up the overall productivity. And he emphasized that “our national comparative advantage will increasingly be built on the quality of our ideas and our human capital.”
Regarding monetary policy, Lowe said the economy is “moving in the right direction” and the next move in interest rate will be “up, not down”. But, “the environment in which interest rates are increasing is also likely to be one in which people’s incomes are growing more quickly than they are now.”And, “any increase in interest rates, however, still looks to be some time away.”