The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has warned against an overreaction to the 0.2 per cent rise in unemployment to 5.7 per cent.
ARA executive director Richard Evans said with full employment at five per cent the unemployment rate was still low, but a steady hand to the wheel of government coupled with positive economic commentary was needed to save jobs.
"After months of flattened consumer confidence, The Westpac Consumer Sentiment Index has soared 12.7 percent in June after positive narrative entered the market when Australia avoided recession in the March quarter. This result confirmed the impact economic narrative has on consumer confidence.
"Economic and political commentators must help save jobs by considering the impact their messages have on the flow of funds through supply channels. If negative commentary continues consumers won’t re-enter the marketplace, funds will dry up throughout the supply chain and jobs may be lost.
Rather than quashing consumer sentiment with overly negative commentary, commentators must acknowledge the positive signs of slow and steady economic recovery, said Evans.
"Now is the time to do all we can to save jobs, and as well as showing leadership with positive rhetoric, the government must also act by reconsidering the ‘modern’ award which threatens the job security of the 1.5 million Australians working in the retail sector.
"There are early signs of recovery in many sectors and for this to continue Australian consumers need to be led by government decisions that support jobs as well as narrative that recognises positive economic indicators, including low unemployment rates; the lowest interest rates since the 1960s; lower petrol prices and the recovering Australian dollar.
"Retailers are urging employers right through the supply channels to hold onto staff, but it’s up to economic commentators to maintain strong consumer confidence to allow cash to flow and provide a community narrative that we are working through this period," said Evans.