Annual wage growth slows to 2.1% in March quarter 2020


The seasonally adjusted Wage Price Index (WPI) rose 0.5 per cent in the March quarter 2020 and 2.1 per cent through the year, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Chief Economist, Bruce Hockman stated "Quarterly wage growth remained steady at 0.5% over the past four quarters and on the back of a year of relatively stable but slow economic growth. This contributed to an easing in the annual rate of wage growth.

Today's data relates to the period shortly before restrictions were put in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), capturing wage information for the mid-month (February) of the March quarter."

Public sector wages grew at a slightly faster rate than the private sector (0.5 compared to 0.4 per cent), in original terms.

Across industries, annual wage growth in March 2020 ranged from 1.6 per cent for the information media and telecommunication services industry to 3.0 per cent for the health care and social assistance industry.

Victoria recorded the highest through the year growth of 2.5 per cent, while Western Australia recorded the lowest for the seventh consecutive quarter (1.8 per cent).

Mr Hockman reiterated his comments from other statistical releases, "The ABS wants to thank businesses for responding to our surveys during these difficult times. Having data to enable us to continue to produce key economic statistics is critical in monitoring the Australian labour market, while guiding business and government decision making".

Further information is available in Wage Price Index, Australia (cat. no. 6345.0), available for free download from the ABS website:

Media notes

  • When reporting ABS data, you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • The Wage Price Index as reported in 6345.0, publishes estimates of the change in hourly rates of pay, unaffected by compositional shifts in the labour force, hours worked, or employee characteristics.
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