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Wages growth in Australia goes from terrible to bad as real wage cuts continue

Today (November 17, 2021), the ABS released the latest – Wage Price Index, Australia – for the September-quarter 2021. The WPI data shows that nominal wages growth rose above levels recorded in previous quarters and the pattern resembled the pre-pandemic growth path – low to modest. The inflation rate continues to outstrip nominal wages growth, which means that workers in all sectors bar ‘Professional, scientific and technical services’ experienced on-going cuts drops in their real wages (purchasing power). The behaviour of nominal wages in Australia gives us a clear signal that there is little prospect of sustained inflationary pressures emerging from the labour market any time soon. Wages in the public sector grew by only 1.6 per cent over the 12 months as a result of the ridiculous wage freezes and wage caps that the federal and state governments are imposing. There can be no sustained recovery for the economy post Covid without a significant shift in the way we think about wages growth.

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