THE majority of Australians were not largely affected by the global financial crisis, but they didn't necessarily know it, results of an annual survey on the nation's confidence and cost of living revealed on Tuesday.
Each year the Melbourne Institute completes a survey of the same 13,000 Australians to see how they are faring in home budgets and general well-being.
The Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey results from 2009 were released on Tuesday.
Principal researcher Roger Wilkins said the survey showed that in 2009, the GFC had largely passed unnoticed, with only a minor increase in unemployment when compared to the recessions of the 80s and 90s.
He said the survey showed while the economic downturn in 2007-2008 in Australia quite mild, by 2009 there was about a 2% increase in unemployment.
Mr Wilkins said the vast bulk of those who lost their jobs were relatively young (aged 25-44), white collar workers with university educations, while in the previous recessions, it had been primarily lower skilled workers who lost jobs.
One of the driving causes preventing the GFC having a major effect in Australia was the government's stimulus hand-outs.
He said the first round of the Keynesian stimulus gave some families literally thousands of dollars in extra disposable income.
But the increase in income did not translate to an increase in the public confidence.
Mr Wilkins said the survey revealed most Australians were still facing an uncertain future and while the economic downturn was mild, due to higher expectations of living standards and overseas uncertainty, the national mood did not improve.
The data collected takes most of two years to collect, analyse and produce a report on, which is why the 2009 was only released on Tuesday.