The recovery in the retail sector has stalled

Both the Accommodation and Food Services and Retail sectors saw stabilizing annual increases in total hourly wages excluding bonuses, with each sector seeing annual wage growth of 4.4% in March 2024, respectively. and 4.0 percent

Stabilizing wage growth in both sectors continues to reflect lower labor demand, although employment in the accommodation and food services and retail sectors increased by 3.5% and 1.7%, respectively, between November 2023 and February 2024 r.

Despite the increase in total employment in these two sectors, in the 3 months to February 2024, the number of job vacancies decreased by 8,000.

KPMG’s chief economist, Dr. Brendan Rynne, says: “importantly from a wage growth perspective, there are still approximately 40,000 fewer people employed in both sectors compared to employment levels in mid-2023.”

James Stewart says that despite a stable wage environment, the Fair Work Commission’s recent decision to increase the minimum wage will again put cost pressure on retailers.

“The 3.75% minimum wage increase will again put pressure on retailers after a short period of stabilization,” he said. “The impact on the award of salaries will mean an impact on the retail sector at a time when sales are weak and the half-year results of major retailers are weak.”