Wages struggle to keep up with CPI

ALTHOUGH workers in the mining industry are still leading the race for the highest full-time weekly pay packets in Australia, ABS figures released yesterday show the industry is setting a slow pace.

ABS data of the full-time adult average weekly ordinary earnings in the year to May 2014 found workers in the mining industry were receiving $2493.20 weekly.

Professor Phil Lewis, the director of the University of Canberra's Centre for Labour Market Research, attributed the low annual increase in weekly earnings to construction jobs in the mining industry evaporating, and subsequently job stability.

Prof Lewis said it was a similar story in other industries.

The ABS calculated the trend estimates of the full-time adult average weekly earnings had increased by just 2.4%, below the CPI figure of 3%.

The average weekly earnings for an adult is $1453.90.

The figures follows the unemployment rate hitting a 12-year high.

Prof Lewis said in a labour market of low business confidence and high job instability, workers were increasingly frightened of losing their jobs and were no longer pushing for wage increases.

Prof Lewis said in the past many people were represented by unions which would push for pay increases regardless of the strength of the labour market.

Public sector workers are faring better than private sector workers, with public sector workers earning $223.30 more on average weekly.

With such a high number of public sector workers, the Australian Capital Territory was found to be the state with the highest weekly earnings.