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Workers in half Australian industries endure real wage cuts

Last Wednesday (February 19, 2020), the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released the latest- Wage Price Index, Australia – (December-quarter 2019). Both private and public sector wages growth was just 0.5 per cent in the December-quarter – keeping growth at record lows. Over the year to December 2019, overall wages growth was 2.2 per cent. With the annual inflation rate running at 1.8 per cent, workers were able to enjoy some real wages growth. However, over the longer period, real wages growth is still running well behind the growth in GDP per hour (productivity), which has allowed profits to secure a substantially increased share of national income. Further, 9 of the 18 industrial sectors delivered real wage cuts to their workers and the aggregate figure is distorted by the strong growth in two sectors only. At the current rate, nominal wages will be lucky to top 2 per cent in 2019-20, which means the tax revenue estimates in the fiscal plans are likely to be over-stated. And, if the mainstream narrative was remotely correct, why is employment growth flat-lining when wages growth is at record lows?

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