Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics and Business CorrespondentAAP
The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release preliminary retail spending figures for August.
Camera IconThe Australian Bureau of Statistics will release preliminary retail spending figures for August.

New figures will give an indication on how retailers are fairing through the pandemic and what demand there is for new staff from businesses more generally.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release preliminary retail spending figures for August on Wednesday.

In July, retail sales grew by a further 3.2 per cent, following a rise of 2.7 per cent in June and a chunky 16.9 per cent increase in May as COVID-19 restrictions were eased.

However, August’s figures will take into account Victoria’s harsh lockdown, a state that accounts for 25 per cent of the national economy.

Federal government figures will also reveal the extent of job advertising on the internet in August, a pointer to future employment.

In July, job advertising surged 8.9 per cent, but was still down 23.3 per cent from a year earlier.

Last week, official labour force figures showed the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 6.8 per cent in August from 7.5 per cent.

In a speech on Tuesday, Reserve Bank deputy governor Guy Debelle said the central bank expected the labour market recovery was likely to be “bumpy and uneven”.

“We still expect the unemployment rate to rise from here,” he told the Australian Industry Group.

He confirmed interest rates were unlikely to rise over the next three years, and presented four options at the Reserve Bank’s disposal should the economy need a further lift.

These are extending its bond buying program to longer maturing issues, foreign exchange intervention and negative interest rates.

Another option is to the lower the current structure of interest rates in the economy, both in terms of the target for government bond yields and the borrowing rate the RBA offers to banks from the current 0.25 per cent.

“It is possible to further reduce these interest rates,” he said in his speech.

But he emphasised these were all just options.

“I am not saying anything new on the likelihood of any of those,” he said in a subsequent Q&A session.

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