Labour Account Industry data. Increased hourly rates equals cuts in hours worked

Today’s release of the June 2018 Labour Account data series (see here for more details) allows us to take a look at incomes across various industry sectors and how they have changed in the past 12 months. The table below shows, for selected industries, the year-on-year changes in the average hourly income per employed person, the average number of hours actually worked per employed person, and the resultant average income per employed person.

Industry Avg Hourly Income
% y/y
Avg Hours Worked
% y/y
Avg Income
% y/y
Retail 9.7 -3.9 5.4
Public Admin -0.9 1.0 0.1
Healthcare 2.8 1.1 4.0
Construction 1.8 -2.9 -1.1
Education 0.2 -1.4 -1.2
Accomm & Food 5.4 -3.2 2.1
Manufacturing 3.1 -0.8 2.3
Mining -2.0 2.0 0.1
ALL 3.6 -1.7 1.8

Across all industries average hourly income rose by 3.6% but the average number of hours fell 1.7% resulting in an increase in average income of just 1.8% (just below inflation).

Many industry sectors saw average hours worked fall, particularly Retail and Accommodation & Food where average hourly incomes rose sharply at the same time as average hourly incomes spiked higher. The inference that increases in hourly rates (awards and penalty rates) led to sharp cuts in hours being worked is inevitable.

As the table makes clear, few sectors saw average incomes increase much beyond inflation; Retail (+5.4%) and Healthcare (+4.0%) being a couple of notable exceptions.

The Labour Account also provide us with information about the total hours of work actually done and those sought but not worked. The hours sought but not worked increased by 1.8% across all industries but was up 8.4% in the Retail sector and 4.1% in the Accommodation and Food sector.


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