Business turns blind eye to political woes

November 14, 2017

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be hoping this week's economic figures give him a boost.

The Turnbull government will be hoping for some positive news on the economy this week to at least temporarily shift the focus away from the citizenship fiasco haunting parliament.

With the government and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's stocks tumbling in the latest Newspoll, Thursday's jobs figures look set to again bring some welcome relief.

Economists expect a further 20,000 people were hired in October, marking a 13th consecutive month of employment gains and keeping the jobless rate at a four-year low of 5.5 per cent.

There could also be some good news on wages, the missing link in the strong employment upswing.

Wednesday's wage price index for the September quarter - the Reserve Bank's and Treasury's preferred measure of wages growth - is expected to rise by 0.7 per cent for an annual rate of 2.2 per cent, the fastest pace in almost two years.

The annual growth rate has been sitting at 1.9 per cent over the past year, the lowest level in at least 20 years.

However, economists stress the stronger outcome will be the result of the Fair Work Commission's minimum wage award from July 1 - a 3.3 per cent pay rise and its largest since 2010 - rather than the start of a sustained upturn.

Sentiment surveys on Tuesday and Wednesday will show whether the political uncertainty over the citizenship debacle, that has clearly hurt the government's standing among voters, is impacting on confidence as well.

Retailers will be praying it hasn't, as they prepare for their busiest time of the year.

The weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index is due on Tuesday and the Westpac-Melbourne Institute monthly sentiment survey is released on Wednesday.

The National Australia Bank's monthly business survey is also released on Tuesday, which has been showing conditions at their highest level in nine-and-a-half years, prior to the global financial crisis.

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