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May 13, 2020

New ABS data released today confirms that already-stagnant wages growth slowed to a two-year low, even before the worst of the virus outbreak and before the large-scale lockdowns began.
This result adds to the overwhelming evidence that Australia entered this crisis from a position of weakness, not strength, with the Liberals and Nationals presiding over the worst wages growth on record.

Today’s release of the ABS Wage Price Index confirms that wages growth slowed to 2.1 per cent over the year to March 2020, down from 2.2 per cent.
Annual growth in both private and public sector wages remained stagnant, with private sector wages growing by only 2.1 per cent and public sector wages growing by 2.4 per cent.
The data reveals that real wages have been going backwards, with wages growth falling below inflation over the year to March.
The ABS highlighted that “the reference period for the March quarter was the pay period on or before 21 February 2020, which was before a global pandemic was declared and before the impact of government restrictions on business activity and the labour market”.
Stagnant wages, weak growth, record household debt, and record high underemployment were major economic challenges before the virus and are expected to hamper the recovery.
Australian workers, businesses, and the community need the Treasurer to stop recycling old media releases and anti-worker biases and instead outline the Morrison Government’s plan for the post-virus economic recovery.