An Australian independent think tank, Per Capita, has claimed national living standards are slipping, in a report titled, “Paradise Lost? The Race To Maintain Australian Living Standards” outlining concerning predictions on wage decline and employment in Australia.
“Living standards for middle Australia are now under threat,” the report begins, “Nominal wage growth is slowing quickly. Real wages have actually fallen,” the report claims, hardly painting a reassuring picture of employment in Australia.
Penned by Per Capita Executive Director Peter Hetherington, the report cites that nominal wage growth has fallen to below the rates seen during the global financial in 2009; the living standards of Australian workers have also been affected, according to the report, from higher average commute times by employees – in 2002, employees commuted for an average of 3 hours and 37 minutes each week traveling to work, in 2014, employees reportedly spent 4 hours and 50 minutes getting to and from work.
The report explicitly warns of a drop in real wages due to a changing economic landscape if change is not initiated soon, saying:
“This reform must start now. To continue to lift labour productivity, we must lift our national investment in hard infrastructure like transport and broadband, as well as soft infrastructure like skills and education.“
Earlier this month, Treasurer Joe Hockey delivered promising news on unemployment rates, with an unexpected drop to 6.1% in the latest report.
Very positive jobs data for March.
Welcome news for Australia.
More work to be done…
— Joe Hockey (@JoeHockey) April 16, 2015
Yesterday, however, leading investment strategist Steve Miller predicted that the unemployment rate would be set to rise by the year’s end to at least 7%. Miller said, according to the ABC,
“Just as we [Australia] were unique in the ’08-09 period, I suspect
we’re going to be unique, the wrong way, in the ’15,’16 ’17 period.”
The report ends on a bold note, saying, “if Australia, for so long the workers’ paradise, can’t deliver better living standards, what social democracy can?”
You can read the report in full here.