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Image – Canva.
  • Payroll jobs figures saw a decline of 0.5%
  • Wages paid also decreased, down by 1.3%
  • South Australia is the strongest state for the reporting period

The Reserve Bank of Australia has said it will not look to raise interest rates until wages and prices are growing at 2% to 3% a year (inflation is currently 1.1%) and unemployment is below 5% (April 2021, the figure was 5.5%). So, with the property market rollicking along, the latest jobs and wages numbers will be looked at with keen interest by property observers.

Latest ABS Wages Data

The latest ABS data shows that, for the period between 24 April and 8 May, total wages paid actually decreased 1.3%.

Turning the clock back further to 10 April, the ABS said wages have decreased 1.5%, but that the overall amount has increased since 9 May last year, up 8.9%.

Payroll jobs also saw a small decrease, down 0.5% for the 24 April to 8 May period, and down 0.4% from 10 April.

Looking back at May last year, however, payroll jobs were up 8.7%, albeit from a mid-pandemic low.

One can see that the index has been falling since March 2021, which is not what the RBA is looking for.

_Graph 1 - Payroll jobs and total wages, indexed to the week ending 14 March 2020 (a)
Source – ABS.

State by state

South Australia took out the top spot for the most new jobs created.

The state saw a 0.2% increase in payroll jobs for the fortnight, while all other states saw their numbers move into the red. One might surmise that in some areas, the labour market might be nearing full capacity, and even have labour shortages in certain sectors. Such things would tend to push up wages, but we have not seen this flow through yet.

“While labour force figures do tend to bump around a bit, we’ve seen consistently strong results over several months now from the single touch payroll data, with SA either leading the nation – or being very close to it – in terms of our surging jobs recovery from the depths of the pandemic.” 

Rob Lucas, Treasurer, South Australia

Looking at the year that was, Northern Territories saw the largest increase in payroll jobs, up 4.4%, followed by Western Australia at 4.0%, then South Australia at 3.6%.

Map 1 - Percentage change in payroll jobs, in the fortnight to 8 May 2021
Source – ABS.


While construction figures continue to move in a positive direction, construction jobs fell 0.4% for the fortnight of 24 April to 8 May, with the year on year figure down 1.2%.

Wages for the sector also fell, down 1.1% for the fortnight and down 0.7% for the year.

Percentage change by industry

Percentage change by industry
Source – ABS.

These statistics would not seem to be pushing the RBA to hit the ‘increase interest rates’ button, at least for the time being.

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