Labour Account Sept 2020 shows average income surge

Tthe ABS have just released the Sept 2020 quarter Labour Account data series which provides a wealth of information. One thing it allows us to do is take a  look at incomes across various industry sectors and how they have changed in the past 12 months. The data provides us, for each industry type, 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.

There are marked differences between sectors with some seeing massive hourly rate increases (on the back of COVID-19 income support payments) driving extremely healthy income rises (e.g. Arts & Recreation) and some seeing large declines in hours worked (e.g. Accommodation & Food Services); most have seen the income support payments more than offset the drop in hours worked and a resultant increase in average incomes. Across all industries average hourly income rose by 11.1% but the average number of hours fell 2.7% resulting in an increase in average income of 8.1%.

Obviously as these support payments (JobKeeper and JobSeeker) start to be wound back as we move into the final quarter of this year and the first of next we can expect to see these large income increases moderate.


Those sectors that contributed the most to the rise in average incomes were;

  • Education (added 1.17 ppts): hourly rates +16.2%, hours worked -1.6% = incomes +14.4%
  • Other Services (added 0.86 ppts): hourly rates +36.3%, hours worked -9.5% = incomes +23.3%
  • Healthcare (added 0.83 ppts): hourly rates +7.2%, hours worked -2.2% = incomes +4.9%

At the other end of the spectrum;

  • Agriculture (deducted 0.74 ppts): hourly rates -11.5%, hours worked -3.5% = incomes -14.6%
  • Information & Technology (deducted 0.02 ppts): hourly rates +1.2%, hours worked -2.2% = incomes -1.0%

By combining the Labour Account data with our own Conus Regional Industry Employment Trend data we can estimate the average income changes across QLD’s regions. These estimates assume that industry sector changes are equal across the nation; differences in regions are therefore driven by the varying industry sector make-up of their employment environment.

While nationwide average incomes were up 8.1%, in QLD the rise was a little more at 8.6%. Greater Brisbane saw much better growth at 9.4% while the Rest of QLD was weaker at 7.7%. In our own area Cairns performed relatively well (+8.4%); while Townsville lagged the State growth at 6.8%.

Performance among the regions varied widely with The Gold Coast notching up income growth of 9.5% (very little exposure to Agriculture which only deducted 0.1 ppts here versus 0.7 ppts nationally) while QLD Outback could manage only zero growth with Agriculture deducting a massive  6.7 ppts.


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