Allianz Future Optimism Index: Australians’ optimism about the economy jumps to highest level in over 12 months

Allianz Future Optimism Index: Australians’ optimism about the economy jumps to highest level in over 12 months

Sydney, 13 March 2013

Australians’ optimism about the future of the economy hits levels not seen since 2011, after falling to near record lows at the end of 2012.

Senior Australians are now the most optimistic of all, up from their lowest recorded level at the end of 2012.

The largest rises in optimism occurred in NSW, South Australia and Western Australia.

Western Australians regain their mantle as the most optimistic about the future of the economy.

Allianz Australia Managing Director, Niran Peiris, said “Australians have begun 2013 in a much more optimistic frame of mind when it comes to their outlook on the economy. After falling to a near record low at the end of 2012, optimism about the future of the economy has rebounded strongly to levels not seen for over 12 months.”

“The rise in optimism about the future of the economy was particularly apparent among those aged 35 and older, in particular, optimism among senior Australians has rocketed to see them become the most optimistic of all Australians. Optimism among women has also reached levels not seen in more than a year.”

“While optimism has risen across the country, the biggest rises were seen in NSW, Western Australia and South Australia. One of the biggest turnarounds occurred in South Australia, which has rebounded strongly after recording the survey’s lowest ever score in December 2012. A similar rise has seen West Australians regain their mantle as the nation’s most optimistic when it comes to the future of the economy. The uncertainty often created by elections does not appear to have impacted on West Australians’ optimism about the future of the economy.”

Survey results

All Australians

After hitting a near record low in December 2012 with an Index Score of just 3, optimism
about the future of the economy has jumped strongly to a score of 12 in February.

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Optimism by Gender

Prior to September 2012, the Optimism Index often revealed a difference between the sexes in relation to their optimism towards the future of the economy with men on average 9 index points higher. The narrowing of this difference in September has continued in December, with optimism among men and women rising by similar magnitudes to both reach a score of 12. While this level has not been uncommon for men, women are the most optimistic they have been for over a year, since November 2011.

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Optimism by State

Among the states there were a few big rises in optimism towards the future of the economy. In NSW, the index jumped from 2 to 15 and Western Australia from 7 to 23, the highest of all the States. One of the biggest turnarounds occurred in South Australia, whose residents were the least optimistic in the country at the end of 2012. South Australians’ score rose from -8 last December, the lowest yet recorded by the survey, to 7 in February, which puts them back in line with States like Queensland and Victoria.

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Optimism by Age

Younger Australians (aged 18-34) remain relatively optimistic, but the current overall rise in optimism has been driven by Australians aged over 35. Strong rises in optimism were seen in the 35 to 49 and 50 to 64 year old age groups, whose score rose from 0 last December to 10 and 11, respectively, in February. However, the biggest lift in optimism occurred among older Australians, with the score for those aged 65 and older jumping strongly from 1 to 18. Optimism among older Australians has risen from their lowest recorded level in December to be the most optimistic of all Australians in February.

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Optimism by Voting Intention

In terms of voting intention, a rise in optimism about the future of the economy was seen among voters from both sides of politics, although Coalition voters remain significantly less optimistic than their ALP counterparts.

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Background

Allianz and Newspoll have joined forces to conduct a bi-monthly survey which measures Australians’ level of optimism about the future of the economy, environment and society, as well as their overall happiness. Optimism indexes in each of these four areas are created to measure changes in optimism over time and differences in optimism among those in different demographic groups.

Respondents’ score their level of optimism on a scale from zero to ten. Those that score between zero and three are regarded as pessimists and those that score between eight and ten as optimists. Those that score between four and seven are regarded as neutral.

The net result of deducting the proportion of pessimists from the proportion of optimists gives the relevant Optimism Index. A positive Optimism Index results if the number of optimists exceeds the number of pessimists, and the reverse results in a negative Optimism Index.

About the Allianz Future Optimism Index

The Newspoll survey on which the Allianz Future Optimism Indexes are based, asks around 1200 Australians to rate each of the following statements on a scale of 0-10, where 10 is extremely optimistic and 0 is not optimistic at all:

1. The future of the economy;
2. The future of the environment in relation to pollution and climate change;
3. The future of our society in relation to crime levels and community values;
4. The overall future prospects and happiness for you and your family.

Respondents’ score their level of optimism on a scale from zero to ten. Those that score between zero and three are regarded as pessimists and those that score between eight and ten as optimists. Those that score between four and seven are regarded as neutral.

The net result of deducting the proportion of pessimists from the proportion of optimists gives the relevant Optimism Index. An Optimism Index of 100 would result if all respondents scored between eight and ten and an Index of minus 100 if they all scored between zero and three.

A positive Optimism Index results if the number of optimists exceeds the number of pessimists and the reverse results in a negative Optimism Index.

More detailed demographic and geographic results for the Allianz Future Optimism Index are available on request.

The latest survey was conducted by telephone among a national sample of 1212 adults aged 18+. Fieldwork was conducted over the period of the 22-24 February 2013 and results were post-weighted using the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics population estimates.

Allianz Australia

Large General Insurance Company of the Year 2012, 2011, 2009*
General Insurance Company of the Year 2012, 2010, 2007,2006**

Allianz Australia delivers a wide range of personal, commercial and corporate insurance products and services to more than 2 million policyholders. Over 50% of Australia’s top 200 BRW-listed companies have some form of insurance cover with the group and the group provides workers compensation services to around one-fifth of Australian employees.

*Australia & New Zealand Insurance Industry Awards
**Australian Banking and Finance Insurance Awards