NEWSFLASH! In September I will join The Conversation as its Business and Economy Editor. I have been honoured to work at The Age for the past ten years, originally alongside the legendry Tim Colebatch, and for the past four years as economics editor in my own right.

At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

On this site are most of the important things I have written for Fairfax and the ABC over the past few decades. I recommend the Search function. The site is a record for you, as well as me.

I'll continue to post great things from The Conversation and other places here, and also on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

No WorkChoices, Goldilocks wages. Who'd have thought?



Where wages are growing

Wage growth over the past decade, excluding bonuses

Location

Western Australia 51%
Queensland 46%
Northern Territory 45%
Australian Capital Territory 45%
Tasmania 45%
South Australia 44%
NSW 44%
Victoria 43%


Industry

Mining 55%
Electricity & water 53%
Construction 52%
Education 50%
Professional services 48%
Public admin & safety 48%
Health & welfare 45%
Finance 45%
Manufacturing 43%
Transport 43%
Real estate 43%
Arts & recreation 41%
Wholesale trade 41%
Admin and support 41%
Media, telecommunications 40%
Retail trade 38%
Accommodation 34%


ABS 6345.0 December quarter 2001 to December quarter 2011


Wages are growing at a ‘Goldilocks’ pace - faster than inflation, but not fast enough to concern the Reserve Bank.

The latest index from the Bureau of Statistics shows wages grew 1 per cent in the December quarter and 3.6 per cent over the year - faster than the inflation rate of 3.1 per cent, but not fast enough to push the rate higher.

Wages have grown quickly where workers have been needed and far more slowly where they have not.

Over the past decade wages have climbed 55 per cent in the mining industry, yet by a far more sedate 34 per cent in the troubled accommodation and domestic tourism industry, suffering as a result of the high dollar.

West Australian wages climbed 51 per cent; Victorian and NSW wages a more tranquil 43 and 44 per cent.

The top four states for wage growth were the mining states of Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory plus the Australian Capital Territory which benefited from the expansion of government during the first phase of the mining boom...

After a year of relative government austerity the ACT has dropped to the bottom of the pack with wage growth of 2.9 per cent. Western Australia remains on top with growth of 3.9 per cent. Victoria and NSW are now not too far behind with 3.6 and 3.8 per cent.

Manufacturing and finance sector wages grew by an above average 1.2 and 1.1 per cent over the past quarter. ANZ economist Craig Michaels said while in normal circumstances that might concern the Reserve Bank, the weak employment outlook in those sectors was set to reign in wage growth.

The employment department’s internet job vacancy index improved in January, climbing 1.9 per cent. The biggest increases were in jobs for machinery operators and drivers and sales workers.

Job vacancies climbed 3.4 per cent in
Victoria, 0.8 per cent in NSW and 1.3 per cent in Western Australia. Over the past year job vacancies have shrunk 15 per cent in Victoria, 16 per cent in NSW and expanded 13 per cent in Western Australia.

In today's Canberra Times, Sydney Morning Herald and Age


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