Australia jobless rate dips to four-month low as full-time work falters

Australian wages again stalled in the three months to March, raising doubts about a key part of the government's 2017-18 budget, and leaving millions of Australian private sector employees further behind.

In contrast, the unemployment rate dropped back to 5.7 percent in April, after it rose to 5.9 percent in February and remained at that level despite the strong employment gain in March.

Negative real wage growth has occurred only twice since current records began two decades ago: during the global financial crisis, and across nine months in 2013-14.

Rises through the year in the private sector ranged from 0.6% for mining to 2.4% for healthcare and social assistance. In Western Australia wages growth slipped to just 1.2% year on year reflecting the downturn in the WA economy.

Total hourly rates of pay, excluding bonuses, rose by 0.5 per cent in the March quarter taking yearly wage growth to 1.9 per cent, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics Wage Price Index.

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian wages were rising at their slowest pace on record, official data released on Wednesday showed, subduing both inflation and spending at a point when household debt has climbed to an all-time peak.

"Workers simply have no bargaining power".

Public sector wages fall way behind cost of living while the ACT creates no new full time jobs.

Inflation edged over 2 percent last quarter for the first time since 2014, although key measures of core inflation stayed stubbornly below the RBA's 2 to 3 percent target band.

The unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to its lowest level in four months in April, but the number of people with full-time work declined - a mixed report that augurs poorly for a much-needed revival in wage growth and inflation.

The central bank is anxious about surging household debt alongside skyrocketing property prices at a time when income growth has slowed.

In particular, the agency has flagged concern about whether projected revenues - for example, from income tax revenue that comes from wages - will materialise.

"As such we expect that wages will continue to under-perform for at least the remainder of this year", he said.

  • Zachary Reyes