13/08/2009 - 14:28

WA tops nation in annual wages

13/08/2009 - 14:28


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Western Australian full-time workers are the highest earners in the country compared to other states, pulling in an average annual wage of $70,886.

Western Australian full-time workers are the highest earners in the country compared to other states, pulling in an average annual wage of $70,886.

CommSec calculated the average annual using latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which today showed average weekly full-time wages grew by 6.1 per cent to $1,196.50 in the 12 months to May.

The ABS said its the highest annual rise since August 2005.

CommSec said for the average annual wage in WA had risen the most compared to other states with an increase of 7.5 over the year.

The average annual wage in South Australia rose by 7.4 per cent to $58,552, Tasmania grew by 6.4 per cent to $55,869, Queensland up by 6.3 per cent to $58,906, New South Wales climbed 6 per cent to $62,873 and Victoria was up by 5.4 per cent to $60,726.

Meantime, the ABS said the average annual male wage stood at $66,581, while the average female wage was $54,907.

The female wage is 82.5 per cent of the male wage, its lowest proportion in more than 21 years, CommSec economist Craig James said.

"Women appear to be falling further behind men in the pay stakes," Mr James said in a client note.

"The average female wage is just over 82 per cent of the male wage, a proportion that has been falling for the past five years and now stands at a 21-year low.

"It is the trend that deserves further study and explanation, not the actual level. But it is a trend that is certainly worth further study across occupations."

AMP Capital Markets chief economist Dr Shane Oliver said while the annual rate of wages growth represented in the AWOTE series was encouraging, it only told half the story.

He said the series, which measures the rate of pay for full time workers, did not include works who moved from full to part-time work.

"The difficulty with the AWOTE numbers is that they don't adjust for compositional change," Dr Oliver said.

"I imagine there may have been more low-income workers losing their job or moving to part time, therefore you'd have more full-time workers in the survey, which would have biased the result upwards.

"On the face of it, it's higher, but my feeling is (compared to) the wage price index figures released yesterday, they look benign and consistent with falling inflation."

In contrast to the AWOTE series, the ABS wage price index (WPI) released on Wednesday showed that wages grew at the slowest annual pace in almost three years during the June quarter.

That data showed total hourly rates of pay, excluding bonuses, rose 0.8 per cent in the June quarter, seasonally adjusted.

The index, which measures movement in underlying wages by calculating the change in the wage and salary cost of a basket of jobs, was in line with market expectations.

The WPI rose 3.8 per cent from a year earlier, the slowest annual increase since the September quarter of 2006.

"We have to be careful in taking too much from (the AWOTE) data," National Australia Bank senior economist David de Garis said in a note.

"In broad terms they are consistent with other signs that the consumer is not only a lot less worried about the economy and jobs, but still sees signs of inflationary pressure."

Thursday's wages data also showed that private sector AWOTE was up 1.0 per cent in the quarter to $1,174.50, seasonally adjusted, for an annual rise of 6.1 per cent.

Public sector AWOTE rose by 0.9 per cent to $1,269.30, seasonally adjusted, for an annual rise of 5.7 per cent.

There was no market forecast for the series.



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