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6345.0 - Labour Price Index, Australia, Mar 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/05/2005   
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MARCH KEY FIGURES

Dec Qtr 2004 to Mar Qtr 2005
Mar Qtr 2004 to Mar Qtr 2005
% change
% change

Wage Price Index (WPI)
Total hourly rates of pay excluding bonuses
Seasonally Adjusted
Australia
1.1
3.9
Sector
Private
1.0
3.7
Public
1.2
4.5
Original
Australia
1.1
3.9
Sector
Private
0.9
3.7
Public
1.4
4.5

WPI-Quarterly changes, Total hourly rates of pay excluding bonuses
Graph: Wage Price Index quarterly changes - Seasonally adjusted and original

WPI-Annual change: original, Total hourly rates of pay excluding bonuses - For selected industries
Graph: Wage Price Index annual changes - Selected industries



MARCH KEY POINTS


TOTAL HOURLY RATES OF PAY EXCLUDING BONUSES

QUARTERLY CHANGES (DEC QTR 2004 TO MAR QTR 2005)

  • The index for all employee jobs in Australia increased by 1.1%, seasonally adjusted.
  • The increases in the indexes (in original terms) at the industry level ranged from 0.6% for Retail trade to 2.1% for Education.
  • The increases in the indexes (in original terms) at the occupation level ranged from 0.4% for Labourers and related workers to 1.4% for Associate professionals.

ANNUAL CHANGES (MAR QTR 2004 TO MAR QTR 2005)
  • The seasonally adjusted increase through the year to March 2005 for all employee jobs in Australia was 3.9% (in trend terms, also 3.9%).
  • Increases in the original indexes through the year to March 2005 at the industry level ranged from 3.0% for Accommodation, cafes and restaurants to 5.6% for Construction, compared with 3.9% for all industries.


NOTES

ABS DATA AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

Original indexes are compiled for various combinations of state/territory, sector (private/public), broad industry group and broad occupation group. Seasonally adjusted and trend indexes are only compiled for total hourly rates of pay excluding bonuses for the private sector, public sector and all sectors. Indexes not included in this publication may be made available on request by telephoning Perth (08) 9360 5151.



CHANGES IN THIS ISSUE

Appendix 2: Re-referencing the wage price index has been re-introduced. It details the re-referencing process and how to convert the rebased quarterly series of index numbers back to the previous reference base of September quarter 1997 = 100.0.



FURTHER INFORMATION

More detailed information on the Labour Price Index (LPI) is available in Information Paper: Labour Price Index, Australia 2004 (cat. no. 6363.0) and Labour Price Index, Concepts, Sources and Methods, Australia (cat. no. 6351.0.55.001).



INQUIRIES

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Tim Landrigan on Perth (08) 9360 5151.



COMMENTARY


GENERAL

The seasonally adjusted through the year movement to March quarter 2005 has picked up to 3.9%. For each quarter from March quarter 2003 to December quarter 2004, the through the year increase, seasonally adjusted, was either 3.5% or 3.6%.



INDUSTRY

The recent trend of strong wages growth in the Construction industry has continued, with an All sectors through the year movement to March quarter 2005 of 5.6% (in original terms). This is the third consecutive highest result since the series began in September 1997 and is the highest of any industry. It compares with an increase of 3.5% through the year to March quarter 2004.


The through the year movement to March 2005 for Mining All sectors is 4.0% (in original terms), compared with 2.9% for the year through to March 2004.



PUBLIC SECTOR

The change through the year to March quarter 2005 for the public sector was 4.5% for each of the original, seasonally adjusted and trend series. A contributing factor was an increase in the award covering a substantial part of the NSW public sector in March quarter 2005. The NSW public sector recorded a change through the year to March of 4.8% (in original terms).



TIMING OF PAY CHANGES

In the past, Award-based increases generally had a pattern of similar timing of effect each year. Recently, some Collective Agreements have been showing evidence of changed timing. Due to delays in the negotiation process, new agreements may not always be established until after the anniversary of increases paid under previous agreements. In such cases, the date of effect may be backdated. In such cases, the WPI records the increase when it is paid rather than at the date of effect.


Delayed increases were paid this quarter to state government employees in a number of states (NSW, SA, Tasmania and NT).


The Australian Industrial Relations Commission is expected to hand down its 2005 Safety Net Review (SNR) decision during May. The pricing point for the June quarter WPI is the pay period on or before 20 May 2005 so the SNR will not affect the June quarter 2005 WPI. In past years, the flow-on has primarily affected the September and December quarters WPI and this appears likely to be the case in 2005.


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