Sydneysiders smarten up after lockdown

It may not be everyone's first choice when leaving lockdown after many weeks, but for many Sydneysiders their first port of call on "freedom day" was a beauty salon.

Figures observed by ANZ showed a 20 per cent increase in spending in NSW overall on Monday compared to the previous Monday.

"Pent-up demand was clear in fashion and beauty," ANZ senior economist Adelaide Timbrell said.

Spending on beauty services was up 870 per cent compared to a week earlier, while clothing was up 168 per cent.

Notably, spending on nail salons was extremely strong, up a staggering 2300 per cent compared to both lockdown and pre-lockdown spending.

Separate figures showed consumers are in the mood to spend.

While the Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment index eased 1.5 per cent in October, at 104.6, above the 100-mark it still points to optimists outweighing pessimists.

"Despite both Sydney and Melbourne remaining in lockdown throughout the last month consumers are relatively upbeat," Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said.

"The success and pace of vaccine-led re-openings in NSW and Victoria in conjunction with the efforts of Queensland and Western Australia to lift vaccination rates, while remaining COVID-free, will likely determine the profile of national confidence over the next few months."

Meanwhile, job advertising had a marked turnaround in September as employers began to gear up for the reopenings in NSW and Victoria.

Online job advertiser SEEK said ads rose six per cent in September, the first increase since April - a positive sign for future employment when another grim labour force report is expected this week.

NSW saw a particularly strong 20.6 per cent rise in job ads for the month, with roles in hospitality and tourism surging 130 per cent since August.

"The COVID-19 roadmap announcements in NSW and Victoria have encouraged businesses to move ahead with rehiring and preparing for the summer holiday period," SEEK ANZ managing director Kendra Banks said.

Still, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg warned the widely expected economic contraction in the September quarter could be more than three per cent as a result of the coronavirus lockdowns in Australia's two major states.

This is larger than the two per cent-plus contraction he has previously estimated.

"That being said, there is now light at the end of the tunnel," Mr Frydenberg said in a online address to the Citi Australia and New Zealand investment conference.

"Restrictions are starting to ease - they have in NSW, they will soon follow suit in Victoria. I think that puts our economy in a strong position going into the new year."

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund upgraded its growth for Australia in 2022 to 4.1 per cent, an increase of 1.1 percentage points, the treasurer noted.

"As the IMF reaffirms, the vaccine is our ticket out of this crisis," he said.

The Westpac survey showed confidence among those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, or intend to do so, now has an index of 122 points, while for those who are not vaccinated or don't intend to get the jab, the index is 84.8 points.

"The confidence level of those not intending to get vaccinated has also fallen quite sharply in the last month, down 8.7 per cent," Mr Evans said.

"Encouragingly, the size of this group has fallen as well, accounting for only six per cent of respondents in the October survey compared to nine per cent in September and just under 20 per cent at the start of the year."

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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