Australia Sydney side street shopping
Photo – Kate Trifo/Pexels
  • NAB data shows a “general slowing” trend in consumption levels across the country
  • Growth is strongest results the arts and recreation, education, retail and transport
  • Hospitality remains flat, along with travel agents, administration and support services

The latest NAB Economics Data Insights shows a “general slowing” trend in consumption levels across most of the states, although overall growth for the past year was still positive, at +1.8%.

Some softening in the figures were as a result of the sudden lockdowns in Victoria and Western Australia, although both states are expected to snap back quickly.

Home-related sectors were the strongest, while hospitality remains weak, particularly accommodation.

Consumption Spending by Industry

Consumption Spending by Industry
Source: NAB.

A high-level view of the latest consumer spending trends over the week to 20 February 2021 are presented below:

  • Construction slowed (+7.1%) but remained positive
  • Hospitality was flat
  • Growth accelerated for arts and recreation (+13.8% weekly year on year), driven by a pick-up in gambling (+59.0%)
  • Administration and support services is clearly still struggling, off 74.7%
  • Travel agents are down -80.9%
  • Education (+2.8%) returned to growth
  • Health and social services (+3.3%) slowed
  • Childcare, pathology/diagnostics, and social assistance contracted
  • Rental, hiring and real estate (-5.2%) contracted, with car hire (-28.4%) and goods hire (-5.8%) both down sharply
  • Real estate services (-2.7%) and property operators (+14.1%) improved, albeit with the former still contracting
  • Accommodation and food services contracted
  • Retail trade saw the strongest growth at 21.3%, followed by Transport, Postal & Warehousing at 15.8%.

“JobKeeper is now only having a small impact on business inflows overall, although remains important for some industries,” said NAB Chief Economist Alan Oster.

“Without JobKeeper, growth was in the order of 11.7% last week, although accommodation and food services is [sic] much more dependent on the program, with growth ex-JobKeeper last week of -6.5% rather -3.5%.”

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