What you need to earn to be ‘average’

 

With so many Aussies out of work and businesses forced to lay off staff, it's hard to imagine wages have increased.

But according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics average weekly earnings have gone up by 3.8 per cent in six months to May.

It's the greatest biannual increase since November 2009.

Aussies working full-time earned an average of $1713.90 a week or $89,122.80 a year.

Through the year to May 2020, average weekly earnings rose by 5.4 per cent, underpinned by the strong biannual increase.

The ABS figures released today were collected from businesses for the last pay period ending on or before May 15.

It reflects wages and employment during widespread restrictions on businesses and people across Australia, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: High income earners think they need more money to be 'comfortable'

Changes in average weekly earnings from the ABS.
Changes in average weekly earnings from the ABS.

 

About 74 per cent of businesses were operating under modified working conditions, about 53 per cent reported reducing hours worked by staff and 24 per cent reported reductions in the number of employees.

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said lower paid jobs and industries were particularly impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, accounting for a high share of jobs lost.

"This fall in lower paid jobs led to an increase in average earnings for all employees because the remaining jobs had a higher earnings profile," he said.

"In recent years, the six-monthly increase in average earnings for all employees has been around 1 per cent. The 3.8 per cent increase to mid-May highlights the extent of the major compositional change in jobs and earnings during this difficult period."

The increase in average earnings was more pronounced in the private sector, given the extent of lower paid job losses in the sector.

However, the level of average earnings in the public sector remained higher.

 

Originally published as What you need to earn to be 'average'


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