Friday, 6 March 2015
The Guardian 2 March 2015:
Last Thursday, during Question Time, Joe Hockey was asked to “outline how the government is building jobs, growth and opportunity and how will this assist all Australians.” Bizarrely, he chose to respond by suggesting “there has been more good news today” in reference “average weekly earnings” despite Australians’ earnings growing by less now than they have for over 20 years.
In delivering the “good news” Hockey told parliament that “the average wage in Australia has now increased to $76,800 a year. It increased by 2.8% this year”. He noted that this meant the average wage for Australians “works out at $1,476.30 a week”.
Firstly, Hockey got a bit confused. The 2.8% growth referred to the original data, while the $1,476.30 referred to the trend data – which only grew by 2.7%. He was referring to full-time employment only, not the average earnings of all workers – that is just $1,128.90 a week.
But what is worse is the treasurer’s suggestion that these growth figures were in any way “good news”.
They were, in fact, terrible.
The 2.8% growth (or 2.7%, to use the trend data) was the second worst annual growth going back to 1994. And the worst result occurred in the 12 months to May 2014 which saw just 2.4% growth…
Of course even these corrected November 2014 figures hide the fact that while average weekly earnings for males (total earnings all industries) was $1,371.50 which represented a growth in males earning of est. $46 a year since November 2004, for females average weekly earnings (total earnings all industries) was the much lower $887.90 which represented a growth in female earning of less than est. $30 a year since November 2004.
In New South Wales in November 2014 total weekly cash earnings for males was $1,404.90 and for females $944.10, figures which are higher than every state except West Australia for that period.
See http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6302.0 for more information.