21 February 2019

Recently released ABS data showed tiny real wage growth in the past year — but as Greg Jericho points out, “there is a long way to go before we experience anything like what was considered solid or even merely average wages growth.” He notes, “It is now four and half years since real wages grew by 0.5% and six years since they grew by more than 1%.” This trend is baffling market ideologues like the chief economist at CommSec, who says “economists have been left scratching their heads as to why solid jobs growth isn’t translating into stronger wages growth for employees”. It’s no big secret — wages will rise when workers have power, and not before. Jericho concludes: “given there are already noises of concern about wages rising faster under a Labor government, it is worth remembering that wages growth does not happen by accident, and that companies will be happy for the new normal to remain in place — and will campaign strongly against any changes to industrial relations.”