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Australia Q4 Wage Prices Advance 1.4% On Year

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Wage prices in Australia climbed 1.4 percent on year in the fourth quarter of 2020, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday -beating forecasts for an increase of 1.1 percent after the 1.4 percent gain in the previous three months.

Individually, private sector wages rose 1.4 percent and public sector wages gained 1.6 percent.

On a seasonally adjusted quarterly basis, wages rose 0.6 percent - again beating forecasts for 0.3 percent and up from 0.1 percent in Q3.

Individually, wages for the private sector rose 0.7 percent and wages for the public sector rose 0.3 percent.

Professional, scientific and technical services recorded the highest quarterly rise of 1.2 percent, following a fall in June quarter 2020 and moderate growth in September quarter 2020. The main driver of this industry's wages growth was the unwinding of short-term wage reductions to previous wage levels, the bureau said.

Accommodation and food services, Financial and insurance services and health care and social assistance each recorded the lowest quarterly rise of 0.1 percent.

Education and training saw the highest annual rise of 2.4 percent, while accommodation and food services had the lowest annual rise of 0.3 percent.

Victoria and the Northern Territory had the highest quarterly rise of 0.7 percent. Victoria's wages growth was driven by the unwinding of wage reductions across a number of industries recorded in the June and September quarters 2020. Northern Territory growth was mainly driven by the public sector.

South Australia and Australian Capital Territory saw the lowest quarterly wage index rise of 0.2 percent. Lower public sector wage growth compared to December quarter 2019 was recorded for both states.

Queensland and the Northern Territory had the highest annual wage increase of 1.6 percent.

All states and territories recorded lower annual wage growth when compared to December quarter 2019.

Victoria recorded the lowest annual rise of 1.3 percent for the second consecutive quarter, with social distancing measures and business restrictions limiting annual wage growth for the state.

Also on Wednesday, the ABS said that the value of total construction work done in Australia was down a seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent on quarter in the fourth quarter of 2020, coming in at A$51.170 billion.

That missed expectations for an increase of 1.0 percent following the 1.8 percent contraction in the previous three months.

On a yearly basis, construction work was down 1.4 percent.

Building work was up 0.6 percent on quarter and down 2.2 percent on year at A$29.373 billion, while residential work was up 2.7 percent on quarter and down 0.7 percent on year at A$17.865 billion.

Non-residential work fell 2.4 percent on quarter and 4.5 percent on year to A$11.508 billion and engineering work slipped 2.8 percent on quarter and 0.3 percent on year to A$21.796 billion.

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