Remuneration Trends and Insights

Key Economic Indicators

Mercer's Key Economic Indicators reviews key statistical indicators of the Australian economy.

 

 

March 2021

 

Economy snapshot

 

This section reviews key statistical indicators of the Australian economy, including:

  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
  • Inflation – Consumer Price Index (CPI)
  • Employment and unemployment
  • Wage Price Index (WPI)

Key economic indicators showed:

  • Negative GDP growth
  • Low inflation
  • Recovering unemployment rate
  • Low wage price growth



GDP growth


GDP increased by 3.1% (seasonally adjusted) in the December quarter, bringing the annual GDP growth to December 2020 to -1.1%.

The December 2020 quarter results showed positive growth in 18 of the 20 industry divisions (seasonally adjusted). 


The top three positive movers were:

  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing (up 26.8%)
  • Other services (up 9.9%)
  • Administrative and support services (up 9.4%)

The lowest three movers were:

  • Mining (down 1.0%)
  • Electricity, gas, water and waste services (down 0.9%)
  • Education and training (down 0.2%)


Consumer Price Index


The all-groups CPI reported an increase of 0.9% in the December 2020 quarter, following a change of 1.6% in the September 2020 quarter [ABS catalogue 6401.0]. The annual change from December 2019 to December 2020 was 0.9%. 

 

The most significant price rises in the quarter were:

  • Tobacco (up 10.9%)
  • Domestic holiday travel and accommodation (up 6.3%)
  • Preschool and primary education (up 5.4%)

The most significant offsetting price falls in the quarter were:

  • Electricity (down 7.5%)
  • Vegetables (down 6.0%)
  • Garments for women (down 5.4%)

 

CPI - % change by location

 
  December quarter 2020 (%) Year to December 2020 (%)
Sydney 1.0 0.8
Melbourne 1.5 1.3
Brisbane 1.1 1.0
Adelaide 0.7 1.0
Perth -1.0 -0.1
Hobart 0.8 0.8
Darwin 0.6 0.0
Canberra 0.8 1.1
Weighted average of eight capital cities 0.9 0.9
 

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics



Employment


In February 2021, the seasonally adjusted national unemployment figure decreased to 5.8% (ABS catalogue 6202.0). The unemployment rates for males and females is 6.1% and 5.5% (seasonally adjusted) respectively.

 

The seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate for February 2021 remained stable by comparison to last month at 66.1%, with male and female participation rates recorded at 71.0% and 61.4% respectively.

 

There were 13,006,900 people employed nationally in February 2021, with full-time employment increasing to 8,895,000 and part-time employment decreasing to 4,112,900 according to seasonally adjusted figures.


On a seasonally adjusted basis, the unemployment rates for each state in February 2021 were:

  • New South Wales – 5.6%
  • Victoria – 5.6%
  • Queensland – 6.1%
  • South Australia – 6.8%
  • Western Australia – 6.0%
  • Tasmania – 5.7%

 

Australian labour force data  2020-2021

 
  Unemployment rate (%) Participant rate (%)
February 2020 5.1 65.9
March 2020 5.2 65.9
April 2020 6.4 63.5
May 2020 7.1 62.6
June 2020 7.4 64.0
July 2020 7.5 64.6
August 2020 6.8 65.0
September 2020 6.9 64.8
October 2020 7.0 65.7
November 2020 6.8 66.1
December 2020 6.6 66.1
January 2021 6.3 66.1
February 2021 5.8 66.1
 

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics



Wage Price Index

 

The Wage Price Index [ABS catalogue 6345.0] measures changes in wage and salary costs for a selection of jobs, unaffected by changes in the quality and quantity of work performed.

 

Movements in total hourly rates of pay (excluding bonuses) - original figures

 
  December 2020 quarter  (%) change December 2020 year (%) change
All employees in Australia 0.5 1.4
Private sector 0.5 1.4
Public sector 0.3 1.6
New South Wales 0.4 1.4
Victoria 0.7 1.3
Queensland 0.4 1.6
South Australia 0.2 1.4
Western Australia 0.4 1.4
Tasmania 0.4 1.5
Northern Territory 0.7 1.6
Australian Capital Territory 0.2 1.4
Mining 0.3 1.5
Manufacturing 0.4 1.5
Electricity, gas and water and waste services 0.5 2.0
Construction 0.6 1.1
Wholesale trade 0.5 0.9
Retail trade 0.7 1.0
Accommodation and food services 0.1 0.3
Transport, postal and warehousing 0.4 1.5
Information media and telecommunications 0.6 1.2
Financial and insurance services 0.1 1.6
Rental, hiring and real estate services 0.4 0.7
Professional, scientific and technical services 1.2 1.5
Administrative and support service 0.9 0.9
Public administration and safety 0.3 1.4
Education and training 0.4 2.4
Health care and social assistance 0.1 1.6
Arts and recreation services 0.3 1.4
Other services 0.4 1.4
 

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Disclaimer: While every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no warranty is given in respect thereof.


 

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