The figures show that total pay growth over the year to June 2020 was -0.7%, marking the lowest rate of growth in more than 20 years. 

MI senior research fellow Sam Tsiaplias said the negative number was "highly unusual".

"It is the biggest negative number we have recorded (over 20 years)," he told Savings.com.au.

In June, 25.8% of the 1,200 respondents to the monthly Melbourne Institute Survey of Consumer Inflationary and Wage Expectations reported a drop in wages, while 28.3% said their pay had increased.

Need somewhere to store cash and earn interest? The table below features introductory savings accounts with some of the highest interest rates on the market.

Provider

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  • A high-interest online savings account with no monthly fees, easy withdrawals and award-winning digital banking
  • No withdrawal notice periods or interest rate penalties
  • Save up to 10% on eGift cards at over 50 retailers with Macquarie Marketplace

Savings Account (Amounts < $250k)

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  • No withdrawal notice periods or interest rate penalties
  • Save up to 10% on eGift cards at over 50 retailers with Macquarie Marketplace
000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
*Rate varies on savings amount
  • Deposit $500 per month to get bonus interest
  • No balance growth needed or card transactions necessary.
  • Tiered bonus rates apply. Earn our best rate on your first $100k. (TMDs at ubank.com.au)
  • 5.50% p.a. available on total savings up to $100K.
  • 5.00% p.a. applies to savings between $100K-250K.
*Rate varies on savings amount

Save Account (>$100,000)

  • Deposit $500 per month to get bonus interest
  • No balance growth needed or card transactions necessary.
  • Tiered bonus rates apply. Earn our best rate on your first $100k. (TMDs at ubank.com.au)
  • 5.50% p.a. available on total savings up to $100K.
  • 5.00% p.a. applies to savings between $100K-250K.
4000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
  • For deposit amounts $0 - $49,999
  • New ING personal savings customers receive an introductory bonus 0.50% p.a. variable kick starter rate for the first 4 months on balances up to $500,000.
  • Reverts to variable ongoing rate. T&Cs apply.

Savings Accelerator (Amounts < $50000)

  • For deposit amounts $0 - $49,999
  • New ING personal savings customers receive an introductory bonus 0.50% p.a. variable kick starter rate for the first 4 months on balances up to $500,000.
  • Reverts to variable ongoing rate. T&Cs apply.
010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
  • Deposit at least $1,000+ each month from an external source
  • Make 5 or more eligible transactions
  • Grow your savings balance each month

Savings Maximiser (<$100k)

  • Deposit at least $1,000+ each month from an external source
  • Make 5 or more eligible transactions
  • Grow your savings balance each month
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HomeME Savings Account ($0 - $100,000)

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    Growth Saver ($1 - $25k)

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      For customers aged 14-35 years
      For customers aged 14-35 years

      Future Saver Account ( < $50k)

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        Goal Saver

          010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

          Boost Saver

            00.011$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

            Reward Saver Account($0-$100k)

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              Bonus Saver Account (Amounts < $100k)

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                Reward Saver Kick Start (Amounts ≤ $1m)

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                  Life (< 30 years) (Monthly deposit)

                    5000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                    NetBank Saver

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                      ANZ Save

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                        Young Saver Account

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                          Save up

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                            Bonus Saver (<$1 Million)

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                              Saver Account (<$250k)

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                                Smart Saver Account (Under 25)

                                  Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

                                  All products with a link to a product provider’s website have a commercial marketing relationship between us and these providers. These products may appear prominently and first within the search tables regardless of their attributes and may include products marked as promoted, featured or sponsored. The link to a product provider’s website will allow you to get more information or apply for the product. By de-selecting “Show online partners only” additional non-commercialised products may be displayed and re-sorted at the top of the table. For more information on how we’ve selected these “Sponsored”, “Featured” and “Promoted” products, the products we compare, how we make money, and other important information about our service, please click here. Rates correct as of July 15, 2024. View disclaimer.

                                  While wage growth was slowing even before COVID-19 hit, Dr Tsiaplias said it was unusual for there to be negative wage growth.

                                  "Wage growth would have been weak even without COVID-19."

                                  With Australia entering its first recession since the 1990s, Dr Tsiaplias said there was little hope of wage growth trending upwards in the near future. 

                                  "The current economic downturn supports the case for even weaker wage growth prospects going forward, at least in the short to medium term," he said.

                                  Last month's figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed wages were sluggish in the March quarter before lockdown restrictions hit the economy. The quarterly wage price index grew by 2.1% over the year to the March quarter. 

                                  The ABS also revealed wages had fallen 8.2% in just one month from 14 March to 18 April. Employee jobs dropped by 7.5%, or around 975,000 positions in the same month. 

                                  That month was when full COVID-19 lockdown measures were announced.

                                  Despite Australia entering a recession, economists have been encouraged by signs the economic downturn hasn't been as severe as first thought. 

                                  RBA governor Philip Lowe said stimulus packages, coupled with the RBA's bond buying, meant the economy was tracking slightly better than the baseline scenario outlined in the latest statement on monetary policy. 

                                  "The shape and timing of that recovery depends not only on when restrictions are lifted, but also on the confidence that Australians have about their own health and their finances," Dr Lowe said.

                                  "With the national health outcomes better than earlier feared, it is possible that the economic downturn will not be as severe as earlier thought.

                                  "Much depends on how quickly confidence can be restored."

                                  However, Australia is not out of the woods yet. 

                                  Unemployment figures for May, due to be released next week, are expected to reach 8%, then 10% in the June quarter.

                                  Economists warn the prospect of billions of dollars in financial stimulus ending almost simultaneously in September could be "catastrophic", while the OECD this week urged the government to extend the JobKeeper wage subsidy beyond the September expiration.