Fact sheet

Fact Check: Have wages grown steadily and outstripped inflation over the past decade?

Liberal Party of Australia Inflation Wages growth

Speaking on the issue of economic management, Jobs and Industrial Relations Minister Kelly O'Dwyer said "Over the last 10 years, we've actually seen wages increase by around 30 per cent and inflation increase by around 20 per cent. Certainly, wages haven't grown as fast as people might like, but wages have grown steadily over that period of time." Have wages grown by about 30 per cent over the past decade, outstripping inflation? And is it correct that wages have been growing "steadily"? RMIT ABC Fact Check found Ms O'Dwyer's claim is not the full story. She is entitled to claim that wages have grown, in nominal terms, by about 30 per cent over a decade, outstripping inflation of about 20 per cent over the same period. However, whether growth has been "steady" is less clear. Wages have generally grown more quickly than inflation on an annual basis, and with less volatility than other economic variables. However, the gains of the past 10 years have been heavily skewed towards the first five years of the decade. This is particularly the case after using inflation to convert the figures into "real" terms to reflect the rising cost of living. For example, real wages grew by 5.5 per cent between June 2008 and June 2013, but by just 1.5 per cent between June 2013 and June 2018. In other words, more than three-quarters of the gains of the past decade occurred the first half, with real wages barely growing during the second half.
Verdict: Not the full story

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