We’re more than a month into the financial year but it’s already clear the new payroll sheets aren’t showing meaningful gains for Australian workers.
The long-term decline in workers’ share of national income has flummoxed classical economists averse to political considerations such as power and ideology. The Productivity Commission drew up a long list of possible contributors, including spare labour market capacity (for the non-wonks: not enough quality jobs on offer for workers to feel confident demanding a raise or quitting) and temporary migration.
But even as many of those conditions have abated -- unemployment recently hit new lows and our borders are shut to foreign workers -- business leaders remain intransigent. The Reserve Bank has recently made relatively rosy predictions for the broader economy but sees little good news on wages.