CANBERRA, AAP – Receding rainfall and floodwaters along Australia’s east coast appears to have lifted the mood of the nation, with consumer confidence rebounding to its highest since October 2019.
The ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index – a pointer to future household spending – jumped 1.7 per cent in the past week, ending two consecutive weeks of decline.
However, the survey was taken at the weekend and prior to the announcement of a snap three-day lockdown in Greater Brisbane.
Previous lockdowns across the country have taken their toll on business and consumer confidence, potentially undermining the economic outlook in terms of investment, hiring and spending.
“Sentiment in Queensland may be tested by the emergence of a COVID-19 cluster in Brisbane,” ANZ head of Australian economics David Plank said.
“The rise in overall confidence to almost its long-run average is encouraging and points to the end of JobKeeper being successfully navigated overall, if not without some difficult individual circumstances.”
Consumer confidence was undermined in recent weeks as the deadline for the end of the JobKeeper wage subsidy approached, a program that successfully provided support during last year’s recession.
However, Treasury estimates up to 150,000 people could be left without a job as a result of the scheme ending.
There is uncertainty about whether the labour market has the momentum to absorb these potential job losses, or whether the steady drop in unemployment will grind to an abrupt halt over the next few months.
This week will also see the scrapping of the coronavirus supplement, an additional payment for those on JobSeeker and other welfare payments.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release its weekly payroll jobs figures on Tuesday, providing a guide to the recent state of the labour market.