Australian wages continue sluggish growth

May 18, 20163:25 pm697 views
Australian wages continue sluggish growth
Wage prices have continued their sluggish growth, with the trend continuing its decline. (AAP)

Figures out today show wages continue to grow at a snail’s pace, with change unlikely any time soon, inflation extremely benign and unemployment relatively high.

Total hourly rates of pay, excluding bonuses, rose by 0.4 per cent in the March quarter.

The quarterly result missed market expectations of a 0.5 per cent rise.

In the year to the end of March, wages rose 2.1 per cent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday.

(Graph shows the quarterly rate of growth in the Wage Price Index, not the actual Index, which has continued growing.)

The index measures movement in underlying wages by calculating the change in wage and salary costs across a range of occupations from a survey of about 3000 employers.

In the minutes of the central bank’s May board meeting released on Tuesday, members expected inflation to remain low over 2016 and the unemployment rate to remain around present levels “for a time” with economic growth moderating after unexpected strength in 2015.

The minutes did suggest that there is unlikely to be another cash rate cut during the election campaign after what appeared to be a borderline decision to reduce the rate to a record 1.75 per cent low earlier in May.

However, the wage figures and Thursday’s labour force data could change this outlook if they prove weak.

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