Labour productivity—as measured by real gross value added per hour worked in the market sector—increased by 1.7 per cent (trend terms) in the year to the June quarter of 2017, up from 1.2 per cent growth in the year to the June quarter of 2016. It is worth noting that short-term measures of productivity are prone to volatility and cyclical effects and should therefore be interpreted with caution. Data are also subject to revision by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Wages and earnings
The Australian Bureau of Statistics Wage Price Index measures wage growth in the Australian economy and is the preferred indicator of wage trends. The index increased by 1.9 per cent (seasonally adjusted) in the year to the June quarter of 2017, down from an increase of 2.1 per cent in the year to the June quarter of 2016. Recent comments from the Reserve Bank of Australia suggest that it is likely that as our economy strengthens and the demand for labour picks up, growth in wages will also pick up.
Private sector wages grew by 1.8 per cent in the year to the June quarter of 2017, while wages in the public sector increased by 2.4 per cent in the same period. In that period annual wage growth by industry (original data) was highest in health care and social assistance (2.6 per cent), and education and training (2.4 per cent), and lowest in mining (1.1 per cent).
In the year to the June quarter of 2017, 12.8 working days per thousand employees were lost. This was up from 9.5 working days in the year to the June quarter of 2016.
In the year to the June quarter of 2017, 137,800 working days were lost as a result of industrial disputes. Of the reported industries, the construction industry accounted for the largest number of working days lost (52,800). In comparison, about 5,500 working days were lost in the education and training, health care and social assistance industries combined, and 16,800 working days were lost in the coal mining industry.
The number of current enterprise agreements—that is, agreements not past their expiry date or terminated—was 14,497 at 30 June 2017, covering 1.88 million employees (latest available data). This compares with 14,441 agreements covering 2.16 million employees at 30 June 2016. Note that there were some minor revisions in the historical figures.