Irish households are more positive about the economy and the outlook for unemployment this month, according to Bank of Ireland's latest Economic Pulse survey.

The Consumer Pulse stood at 97.3 in October, up 2% on September's reading and 4.4 on a year ago. 

However, people's assessments of their own financial situation was little changed, notwithstanding changes to social welfare payments and income taxes in Budget 2018.

Buying sentiment was also little changed in October, with more than one in three people (37%) considering it a good time to purchase big ticket items such as furniture and electrical goods.

Bank of Ireland Chief Economist Dr Loretta O'Sullivan said the Consumer Pulse was "back on track this month, with sentiment among households picking up after last month's temporary setback.

"Households were a focus of Budget 2018, with the USC and income tax changes and increases in social welfare payments supporting disposable incomes and spending power.

"But as the Budget day giveaways didn't come as much of a surprise and were fairly modest, households' assessment of their own financial situation was little changed this month, though there may be more of a reaction when the measures start to kick in."    

According to the lender's research, business sentiment rose slightly in October, with the Retail Pulse higher, as well as the Construction Pulse.

However, industry and services sentiment was down and the data also point to some softening in export orders for the coming three months.

Bank of Ireland also says the weakness of the pound remains "a key concern for firms exporting to the UK, as does Brexit-related uncertainty".

Two in five businesses have indicated they expect to increase basic pay over the next 12 months.

This is up from one in three in July and reflects the ongoing improvement in the labour market, with firms also starting to factor in the forthcoming increase in the national minimum wage.