Widening gap between inflation and wages in the NT pulls up local commodity prices

by | May 20, 2022 | Business News Brief, News Brief | 0 comments

The Northern Territory’s wage price index (WPI) increased by 2.1 per cent year-on-year ending March 2022 reflecting a 1.8 per cent increase in the public sector and a 2.2 per cent increase in the private sector, data from the Department of Treasury and Finance show, but added to CPI increases presents a widening gap in Darwin.

The WPI measures changes in the hourly price of labour. It reflects changes in awards, enterprise agreements, minimum wage, and individual contracts.

The Territory reported the third lowest annual growth of all jurisdictions. In other jurisdictions, changes in WPI ranged from 1.9 per cent in both Western and South Australia to 2.7 per cent in Tasmania.

On the whole, national wages went up by 2.2 per cent, showing an upward movement of 1.8 per cent for the public sector and a 2.2 per cent growth for the private sector.

Across industries, the highest year-on-year wage growth was reported in the professional, scientific and technical services industry in the private sector which recorded an increase of 2.8 per cent. The mining industry, on the other hand, registered the weakest growth in the private sector with only 1.6 per cent.

On a quarterly basis, the Northern Territory WPI went up slightly by 0.3 per cent in the March quarter of 2022. This figure reflects a 0.1 per cent uptick in the public sector and a 0.4 per cent in the private sector. On the whole, the quarterly WPI improved by 0.6 per cent, with a corresponding uptick of 0.6 per cent in the public sector and a 0.5 per cent growth in the private sector.

A stark contrast

The widening gap between the Consumer Price Index (CPI)—or the rate of inflation, and the Wage Price Index (WPI) or the average household income, has become worse in Darwin.

Year-on-year CPI for Darwin went up by 5.9 per cent ending March 2022, while its WPI grew by only 2.1 per cent for the same period—the third lowest increase in all jurisdictions, as indicated by an earlier released data from the Department of Treasury and Finance

Darwin’s CPI is the highest of the capital cities, wherein the eight capital cities’ average CPI has shown a moderate increase of 3.9 per cent.

The biggest price increases for the period were in transportation, up by 13 per cent; housing, which increased by 11.6 per cent; and furnishing, household equipment and services, up by almost seven per cent.

Clothing and footwear, which went down by 3.4 per cent and communication, down by 0.8 per cent, were the only reported decreases for the period.

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