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Wages growth flatlined as expected in the March quarter, expanding by just 0.5 per cent – the same as in the December quarter.

Total hourly rates of pay, excluding bonuses, rose by a seasonally adjusted 2.1 per cent on an annual basis, according to Wednesday’s figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Public sector hourly rates of pay lifted 0.6 per cent in the quarter and 2.4 per cent over the year, while private sector workers received a 0.5 per cent increase in the quarter and 2.1 per cent over the year.

The data captured wage information for the mid-month of the March quarter, ABS said, ahead of the social restrictions and business closures imposed in late March to check the spread of coronavirus.