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Financial stress increases despite relaxed conditions

Australians are more financially stressed than they were before the Prime Minister announced plans to restart the nation's economy, according to latest research.

The latest wave of the Melbourne Institute's Taking the pulse of the nation survey shows financial stress increased among Australians in the wake of the government's May 8 announcement that restrictions would be lifted in a phased approach.

The survey reports that around 24% of respondents are feeling financially stressed when it comes to paying for essential goods and services, and increase of about three percentage points from when the nation's temperature was taken just a week earlier.

Concurrently, the proportion of Australians feeling financially comfortable when paying for essential goods and services decreased by about two percentage points.

"Comparing wave six with wave five, there has also been a marginal shift in the financial conditions of the survey respondents with a slight increase in the proportion of those financially stressed along with a marginal decline in the financially comfortable," the research said.

Overall however, financial stress among Australians has decreased over the last month, having peaked at 30.9 on April 21.

The proportion of Australians who feel the effects of COVID-19 will impact Australia's economic activity for the long-term continues to remain high, with 53% of respondents anticipating the economy will feel the impact for at least the next 12 months.

"With the flattening of the coronavirus curve and the beginning of easing restrictions, Australians are turning their attention to the path to economic recovery," the Melbourne Institute said.

"Satisfaction with government economic policies to support jobs and keep people at work has been steady throughout the six waves of this survey (average of 66%).

Wave six showed a slight shift in the expected duration of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic - the proportion expecting it to last for six months increased (by four percentage points) while the proportion expecting it to last for more than 12 months fell (by four percentage points)."

Read more: AustraliaAustraliansMelbourne InstitutePrime Minister
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