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6345.0 - Wage Cost Index, Australia, Sep 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/11/2003   
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SEPTEMBER QUARTER 2003 KEY FIGURES


% change
% change
Total hourly rates of pay
Jun Qtr 2003 to
Sep Qtr 2002 to
excluding bonuses
Sep Qtr 2003
Sep Qtr 2003

Trend
Australia
0.8
3.6
Sector
Private sector
0.8
3.3
Public sector
1.2
4.7
Seasonally Adjusted
Australia
1.0
3.7
Sector
Private sector
0.8
3.2
Public sector
1.4
4.7
Original
Australia
1.2
3.6
Sector
Private sector
1.2
3.2
Public sector
1.6
4.7



SEPTEMBER QUARTER 2003 KEY POINTS


INDEXES OF TOTAL HOURLY RATES OF PAY EXCLUDING BONUSES


Quarterly Changes (Jun Qtr 2003 to Sep Qtr 2003)
  • The index for all employee jobs in Australia increased by 1.0%, seasonally adjusted.
  • The increases in the indexes (in original terms) at the industry level ranged from 0.8% for Finance and insurance and Education to 2.0% for Health and community services.
  • The increase in the indexes (in original terms) at the occupation level ranged from 0.9% for Managers and administrators to 1.9% for Advanced clerical and service workers.

Annual Changes (Sep Qtr 2002 to Sep Qtr 2003)
  • The seasonally adjusted increase through the year to September 2003 for all employee jobs in Australia was 3.7%.
  • Increases in the original indexes through the year to September 2003 at the industry level ranged from 2.6% for Retail trade to 5.0% for Health and community services.
  • The NSW public sector increase of 6.7% (in original terms) through the year to September quarter 2003 was the main driving force behind the 4.7% increase recorded for the public sector for Australia.


COMMENTARY

ANNUAL CHANGES

In this commentary the change in the indexes between a quarter and the same quarter in the preceding year, such as from the September quarter 2002 to the September quarter 2003, is referred to as the change "through the year" to September quarter 2003.

INFLUENCES ON THE WCI

The Safety Net Review decision was handed down by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission on 6 May 2003. The Safety Net Review is applicable to workers on federal awards. The May decision was for a pay increase of $17 per week for workers on $731.80 per week or less and $15 for workers on more than $731.80 per week. All equivalent state and territory Commissions also passed on the same increases to those awards within their jurisdiction. The date of effect in Queensland was 1 September 2003 which was after the reference period for the September quarter WCI (the pay period ending or before 15 August 2003) but in all other states and territories the date of effect was prior to this reference date. As a consequence, the Safety Net Review decision has resulted in increases in September quarter 2003 for some employees paid under relevant awards in those states and territories. It is not possible to assess its relative contribution to the rise in the WCI in the September quarter.

The change through the year to September quarter 2003 for the public sector for Australia as a whole was 4.7% in both the original and seasonally adjusted series. The primary reason was an increase in an award covering a substantial part of the NSW sector. The change through the year for the NSW public sector was 6.7% (in original terms) and this is the largest annual movement for the NSW public sector that has been recorded in the WCI.

The pay mechanisms behind the increases in the private sector were fairly evenly spread between certified agreements, award based increases (with the Safety Net Review a prominent part) and salary reviews. In the public sector, certified agreements and awards were responsible for about two-thirds and one-third respectively of jobs having pay increases.


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) 93605151.

CHANGES IN THIS ISSUE

The experimental seasonally adjusted wage cost indexes previously published in Appendix 2 are now considered as being of a suitable standard for ABS publication purposes and so the "experimental" label has been removed. The seasonally adjusted and trend indexes for total hourly rates of pay excluding bonuses are presented in Table 1 for each of the private and public sectors and for all sectors. The seasonal factors used are likely to be revised when original estimates become available for subsequent periods. Paragraphs 28 to 35 of the Explanatory Notes provide more details about the seasonally adjusted and trend wage cost indexes. The other tables have the same contents as in past issues but they have been renumbered.

CHANGES IN NEXT ISSUE

In April 2000, the ABS released an information paper, ABS Statistics and The New Tax System (cat. no. 1358.0), which foreshadowed changes in the statistical infrastructure supporting the compilation of ABS economic series. The main change impacting on the Wage Cost Index will be the introduction of the Australian Business Register, maintained by the Australian Taxation Office, to provide details of the business population from which to select the sample of businesses.

This publication presents the last release of estimates from the Wage Cost Index compiled using the old infrastructure. In the next release of this publication, estimates for the latest period will be compiled on the new basis. However, this will not introduce any discontinuities into the WCI.

An information paper, Improvements in ABS Economic Statistics [Arising from The New Tax System] (cat. no. 1372.0), was released on 6 May 2002. That paper described the changes in more detail and provided information about the treatment of statistical impacts of the changes across ABS economic series.


FURTHER INFORMATION

More detailed information on the Wage Cost Index is available in Information Paper: Wage Cost Index, Australia, 2000 (cat. no. 6346.0).

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