ANZ's latest consumer confidence figures include a warning on employment

Photo: Matt Cardy/ Getty.

Australian households still have mixed feelings about the state of the economy, as consumer confidence levels fell last week.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan weekly consumer confidence index fell by 1.2% to 112.4, below the four-week moving average of 113.4 after a small pick-up in the week prior.

Looking ahead to this week, ANZ is predicting a small decline in Thursday’s employment figures and warned that such a result may negatively affect sentiment.

Outside of weekly volatility, it’s clear Aussie consumers still don’t feel great about the economy — views towards current and future economic conditions fell for the second straight week and remain stuck below their long-term averages.

Views toward current financial conditions also fell last week, although households were more optimistic about their future finances.

Data for the survey is collected on the weekend, and based on around 1,000 face-to–face interviews.

ANZ’s head of Australian economics, David Plank, said this week’s data was a reflection of mixed sentiment among Australian consumers, with the index stuck around its long-term average with no clear trend evident.

“That said, there is no doubt that current household conditions remain stretched due to high debt levels and slow wage growth. We suspect these will remain constraints on the outlook for households for some time,” Plank said.

Ahead of this week’s monthly jobs report, Plank added that the recent strength in Australian business conditions should provide support for the labour market. However, he said ANZ sees some downside risk for September employment. The bank is predicting a small decline of 5,000 jobs, against market expectations of a 15,000 gain.

“A weak employment result would not be concerning to us given the underlying signals about the labour market, but negative media headlines may dampen consumer sentiment somewhat,” Plank said.

Inflationary expectations remained unchanged in last week’s survey, while the “time to buy a major houshold item” index fell by 3% as part of a broader downtrend.

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