Australia’s inflation numbers are clear, but when it comes to official wage data, we may be flying blind


There is a bizarre lack of clarity about a particularly crucial economic data point that affects every Australian.

We are all aware of the rising cost of living: gas bills, filling up at the gas station, food, transportation and housing.

Many of us don’t need the statistical office’s quarterly CPI or inflation statistics to know that prices are rising fast.

However, that only covers one side of the household budget. There is another side: income.

Many of us will be well aware of how much money goes into our bank accounts every week, two weeks, or a month, but what about everyone else?

There is a big difference when it comes to what we earn and officially we have no idea what it is like.

That suggests policymakers don’t have a good idea — at least in hard dollars — about how well households are doing economically.

For some, that’s not good enough, so they do it for themselves. What do I mean? Let me explain.

More clarity about wages

The last time we got an accurate picture of how fast our pay packages were rising was on May 18 of this year, with the ABS Wage Price Index. It has shown flat wage growth since the end of 2021.

The Reserve Bank has since suggested that the pace of wage growth, more broadly, is “picking up”. This is based on his “connection program” and “company surveys”.

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