Canberrans still have the nation’s biggest pay packets and they are growing faster than anywhere else in the country, new figures show.
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows average weekly ordinary time earnings in the ACT are $85,545.2 a year, or $1645.10 a week.
Nationally, average weekly earnings were up 5 per cent over the past year to $72,592 a year or $1396 a week.
“The Australian Capital Territory recorded the highest annual movement in Full-Time Adult Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings, at 6.2 per cent. This was 0.4 of a percentage point higher than the next highest, New South Wales (5.8 per cent). The lowest annual movement was in the Northern Territory at 2.8 per cent,” the bureau said.
“Those employed in the Australian Capital Territory had the highest Full-Time Adult Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings at, $1645.10, followed by Western Australia ($1590.60). The Australian Capital Territory has a high proportion of Public sector workers, who on average earn more than those in the Private sector.”
CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian said the figures also highlighted the gender pay gap.
"The gap between male and female earnings shows no signs of closing. On average men are earning $13,608 more per year than women," he said.
"One key reason for the disparity is the rising demand for labour in male dominated sectors, such as mining and construction. Still there remains worrying wage disparities in other sectors as well that is clearly worthy of greater investigation."
He said the highest wages were in the mining sector, at $122,767 a year, followed by finance and insurance services ($85,390), professional, scientific and technical services ($84,963) and information media & telecommunications ($84,854).
People in the accommodation and food services sector had the lowest average wage, at $51,626, followed by retail trade ($52,432) and “other services” ($57,506).
"The latest data on wages bears out what most households would be well versed with now – the Chinese industrialisation is leading to major shifts in our economy. Wages in the fast-growing mining sector are now almost 2½ times the earnings in food sectors like cafes and restaurants as well as across the retail sector," he said.
"Interestingly, despite sustained growth in real wages Aussie consumers are remaining conservative. However given that wage growth continues to outpace the rise in economy wide prices it is likely that consumer conservatism will thaw over time – particularly given lower interest rates, rising share markets and more stable house prices."
The latest inflation figures showed the consumer price index grew by 2.2 per cent in the year to December.