Christmas under delivers

christmas, shopping, trolley, gift, decorationConsumer spending over the Christmas period grew at its slowest rate in more than two years.

Economy wide spending rose 0.3 per cent in December in trend terms, according to data from Commonwealth Bank point of sale terminals, the slowest growth rate since late 2012.

But a recent pickup in the jobs market suggests better times ahead, if it translates to stronger consumer confidence, CommSec chief economist, Craig James, said.

Official figures last week showed unemployment fell to 6.1 per cent in December, after the economy added 37,000 jobs.

“Despite the slowdown in spending growth over the festive period, the latest unemployment data reflects a strengthening employment market, which has the potential to drive spending as we move further into 2015,” James said.

Commonwealth Bank’s December spending figures showed growth in 13 of 19 industry sectors, with the strongest performers in service provision, amusement and entertainment, and hotels and motels.

Spending rose in Western Australia, Tasmania and the ACT but fell in NSW, South Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory, while remaining flat in Queensland.

The survey measures economy wide spending by tracking credit and debit card transactions at CBA machines.



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