West Australians’ confidence in the economy is continuing to grow, reaching its highest level in four years – but cost of living concerns persist.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA’s (CCI) Survey of Consumer Confidence is the only survey of its kind in WA, canvassing the views of adult consumers located across both metropolitan Perth and regional WA.
CCI Chief Executive Officer Chris Rodwell said CCI’s survey has identified that both short-term and medium-term confidence have continued to rise in the March 2018 quarter.
“This emphasizes that optimism in the economy is growing for most West Australians and economic recovery is on track,” Mr Rodwell said.
“West Australians are feeling more confident about the medium-term future of the WA economy than they have in four years, with 76 per cent of WA consumers believing that the state’s economy will strengthen or remain the same over the next 12 months – up 2 per cent from the December 2017 quarter.
“Short-term confidence has also continued to grow, with almost four out of five consumers (79%) expecting the WA economy to improve or remain unchanged over the coming quarter – up three per cent.
“Cost of living does however continue to be the biggest influence of concern to consumers, with costs such as groceries, utilities, and transport being cited by 64 per cent of respondents as a concern.
Despite increases in overall consumer confidence, job security remains a concern.
“Limited growth in the labour market and slow wages growth has caused more than 60 per cent of West Australians to expect no improvement to their job prospects in the coming quarter” Mr Rodwell said.
“Over two-thirds (68%) of WA consumers reported that they were unlikely to make any major household purchases of more than $2,000 over the coming quarter, while only one in five consumers (19%) are likely to increase spending.
“We are not expecting consumers to increase spending given more than one in three consumers (35%) reported exceeding their monthly incomes, and one in five consumers (21%) were unable to pay off their credit card debt in full at the end of the month.
“Four out of five WA jobs are created by business so it is clear that if the State and Federal Governments want to improve job prospects, encourage wage growth and increase household spending in the WA economy, then business investment must be supported.
“CCI has called on the State Government to rein in its unsustainable spending, which is the highest of any state per person, to turn the Budget around and support job creation.”