Nothing quite shows how downbeat Australians are compared to a year ago than the table below.
From Westpac, it shows the breakdown of its August consumer sentiment survey by demographic grouping.
Check out the change on a year earlier:
With the exception of sales and clerical workers, every other cohort said that their sentiment levels were the levels of a year earlier.
The vast majority of groupings also have a reading below 100, indicating that pessimists outnumber optimists.
That mirrors the broader theme in the survey where pessimists have dominated in each of the past eight months, the longest stretch seen since the global financial crisis.
The index, at 95.5, is also at a 15-month low, putting it in stark contrast to business confidence which currently sits at multi-year highs, driven by booming profitability levels.
To Paul Dales, chief Australia and New Zealand economist at Capital Economics, the recent divergence between household and business finances largely explains the gap between consumer and business sentiment.
“Households are becoming more downbeat just as businesses are becoming more upbeat. This makes perfect sense as businesses are benefiting from the upswing in global demand and rising profits, while households’ real incomes are being restrained by low wage growth and rising prices of items they have to buy such as utilities and health insurance etc.”
Dales says that such a scenario will probably lead to a bit more business investment growth but a lot less growth in household consumption, the largest component within the Australian economy.
“That’s partly why we believe GDP will rise by just 2.0% this year and only 2.5% next year,” he says.
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