NAB’s Chief Economist, Alan Oster provides his thoughts on the Australian and Global economy.
The NAB Australian Wellbeing Index fell slightly to 63 points in Q4 2014 (63.8 in Q3). Wellbeing was rated lower for all questions, especially “not anxious yesterday” which fell to its lowest level since the survey started. Wellbeing rated highest in Queensland and lowest in Victoria.
Overall wellbeing deteriorated slightly in Q4 with anxiety levels reaching a new high.
Wellbeing rated highest in QLD and lowest in VIC. While women over 50 now have the highest wellbeing across all demographics, young women (18-29) have the lowest and much lower than for young men.
NAB also releases an annual pulse check on the big issues facing Australia today. The cost of living is clearly the big issue. Other important concerns include: access to healthcare; employment and jobs; the economy; and terrorism/security. Conversely, concerns over indigenous issues, infrastructure and transport and taxation are lowest.
The NAB Australian Wellbeing Index fell slightly to 63 points in Q4 2014 (63.8 in Q3).
Wellbeing was rated lower for all measures, especially “not anxious yesterday” which fell to its lowest level since the survey started.
NAB Chief Economist Alan Oster said: “Anxiety is still the biggest detractor of personal wellbeing for a significant proportion of Australians, with around 38% rating their anxiety levels as “very high”.
When asked about the big issues facing Australia today, around 50% of all responses nominated the cost of living as the biggest issue, followed by access to healthcare (34%), employment (28%), the economy (26%) and terrorism/security (23%).
In contrast, indigenous issues (2%), infrastructure/transport (6%) and taxation (6%) were of least concern.
According to Mr Oster: “Although cost of living is the biggest issue facing the country, for those over the age of 50, access to healthcare is more important”.
There are also notable differences across demographics in terms of the relative importance of each issue.
“Cost of living is a significantly bigger issue in Tasmania. Employment and jobs are also bigger issues in Tasmania, Victoria and SA/NT where unemployment rates have also been among the highest in the country”, said Mr Oster.
Australians living in WA were most concerned about terrorism/security, whereas Victorians saw law and order as a much bigger issue than in all other states.
By gender, women nominated cost of living, access to healthcare and an ageing population as much bigger issues than did men, whereas men identified the economy and terrorism/security as more important concerns.
Mr Oster said: “Australians aged between 30-49 nominated employment and housing affordability as relatively bigger issues, while more young people identified more with education and income inequality.”
Finally, access to healthcare was a relatively bigger issue for those earning less than $35,000 and for the unemployed.
The NAB Quarterly Australian Wellbeing Index was launched in April 2013 in conjunction with the NAB Quarterly Australian Consumer Anxiety Index with the aim of assessing perceptions of wellbeing and consumer stress.
Subjective wellbeing measures can play an important role in supplementing traditional economic measures of national income and activity. The NAB Australian Wellbeing Index provides a snapshot of how more than 2,000 Australians perceive their own lives based on life satisfaction, life worth, happiness and anxiety.
The NAB Wellbeing Index is complemented by the NAB Consumer Anxiety Index which provides a subjective assessment of over 2,000 Australian’s own concerns about their future spending/savings plans arising from job security, health, retirement, cost of living and government policy.
Both indices provide detailed results by: geography; age; income; employment status; occupation; sex; and marital status.
For further analysis download the full reports.
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