By Vera Sprothen

SYDNEY--Australian wage growth hit a new low in the September quarter, in a sign that the job market is weaker than it looks.

Wages across all industries rose a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in the September quarter from the prior quarter and rose 1.9% from a year earlier--the slowest increase on record, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday.

Economists had expected a rise in wages over the quarter of 0.5%, and 2.0% on-year.

The weak wages growth was led by the mining sector where workers' pay rose only 0.1% over the quarter.

On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund said it feared that consumption growth, which has helped to insulate Australia's economy from a sharp slowdown in resources investment in recent years, could turn lackluster if wages growth stayed low.

While the unemployment rate has been falling over recent months, new jobs growth is heavily concentrated in part-time work. Pressure on business owners to lift wages has eased as the underemployment rate remains elevated, meaning many people--even those who are employed--would like to work more if they had the opportunity.

The Australian central bank said this week in notes from its latest policy-board meeting that many advanced economies have experienced lower-than-expected wage growth and that the trend in Australia appears to be stabilizing.

In the private sector, wages rose 0.4% in the third quarter and rose 1.9% from a year earlier.

Public-sector wages rose 0.6% in the quarter and increased 2.3% from a year earlier, the ABS said.

-Write to Vera Sprothen at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 15, 2016 19:54 ET (00:54 GMT)

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