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National Accounts: what it means for you

REPORT CARD ON THE AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY - WHAT TO EXPECT

* Australia's September quarter national accounts will be released on Wednesday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

* The report is a gauge of the economic health of the nation. It updates key measures like consumer spending, business activity and growth - called Gross Domestic Product.

* The "headline" economic growth number is the most important and often has implications for interest rates and government and business outlooks.

* It's primarily fed by the strength of household consumption, or spending, which accounts for about 60 per cent of the economy.

* Household spending is also a signal of consumer confidence and is keenly watched by Australia's economic overseers - Treasury and Reserve Bank of Australia.

WHAT'S THE OUTLOOK FOR GROWTH?

* GDP is calculated on what Australia has earned, spent and produced during the survey period.

* The economy is expected to have expanded by around 0.6 per cent in the quarter, and by 3.3 per cent over the year ended September 30.

HOW'S IT BEEN LATELY?

* Pretty good, all things considering.

* In fact, Australia has recorded consecutive quarters of growth for a decade after a single blip in the aftermath of the 2008/09 global financial crisis.

* The last recession was in 1991. So Australia is now in its 27th year of economic expansion.

* The previous mining boom certainly helped and the current upturn in the sector is lending support again today.

WHY SHOULD WE CARE?

* A strong economy means better job opportunities and wages.

* An annual rate of around three per cent is seen as providing a solid base for sustained employment growth.

SOME OF THE CONTRIBUTORS TO GDP ARE:

* Retail spending

* Construction work, including residential construction

* Business investment

* Company profits

* Business inventories, which is the stock being held on shelves and in warehouses

* Wages and salaries

* Government spending

* Net exports, or exports minus imports