Confidence among workers has slumped to a record low as the recession has many people fearing for their jobs, a new survey says.
The Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index fell to 93.2 in the three months to March, from 104 in the previous quarter.
A reading below 100 indicates there are more pessimists than optimists. It is the first time the figure has fallen below 100.
Westpac senior economist Doug Steel says continual bad news about the economy has taken its toll on workers' views about the job market and future wages.
Mr Steel says the survey indicates workers' not only think present conditions are bad, but have negative expectations for the year ahead.
He says the 5% wage increases seen in the recent years might pull back to about 1.5%.