Average wages across WA have fallen for the first time in more than a decade in a sign the big pay rises in the mining sector are yet to filter through to the rest of the workforce.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported yesterday that male adult ordinary time earnings in WA fell more than $31 in the three months to November to $1663.90 a week.
WA female ordinary time earnings were steady at $1221.30, with the overall average dropping to $1522.60 a week or $79,172 a year.
Despite the drop, WA male wages are still the highest in the country, eclipsing second-placed Canberra by $37.50 a week or almost $2000 annually.
However, it was the first time since early 1999 that male wages had fallen in WA.
Nationally, full-time wages rose one per cent and were 4.7 per cent higher than a year ago.
It was the lowest annual growth in more than five years.
There were big differences between some industries, with the average mining wage climbing to $114,000 while those in administrative and support services fell almost 5 per cent.
CommSec chief equities economist Craig James said miners and professional workers such as engineers were being paid handsomely but it was a different story for those in other parts of the economy.
He said businesses trying to trim costs had started cutting administrative and support staff.
There were also signs that rather than putting on extra staff, businesses were asking their employees to work longer hours.
"It's clear that Reserve Bank board members aren't lying awake all night worrying about wages," he said.
Mr James said that over the past three years, wages had risen almost 15 per cent while prices had climbed a little more than 8 per cent."Despite the protests of many, Australians have become better off and affordability for many goods has improved," he said.
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