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UK job confidence hits highest level for 6½ years – Nielsen

British consumers now the sixth most confident about job prospects among 33 European countries measured

London – 30 April 2014 – Over one third (36%) of Britons felt positive about their job prospects in Q1 2014, the highest level since Q3 2007 (50%), before the financial crisis – according to the latest figures from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy.

The number of British consumers who feel positive about their job prospects is now significantly above the European average (28%); a year ago, UK job positivity was the same as in Europe (23%).

Of the 33 European countries measured in The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, only five are more confident than the UK about job prospects: Switzerland (63%), Germany (61%), Norway (47%), Denmark (44%) and Austria (38%).

E.g. in Q1 2014, 36% of consumers were positive about their job prospects over the next 12 months

Nielsen group managing director for UK & Ireland Chris Morley comments: “Our consumer sentiment figures, which show that Britons feel more positive about their job prospects, mirror a recent report from the Office for National Statistics indicating UK employment reached a record high of 30.4m and that wage rises matched inflation for the first time since 2010.”

Aggregate consumer confidence

UK consumer confidence, overall, increased three points from the previous quarter to 87 in the first quarter of 2014. The last time it was higher was six-and-a-half years ago in Q3 2007 (94).

Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.

The UK figure stands midway between the global index of 96 and European index of 75, and compares favourably with most of our European partners. The French index rose eight points (to 59), Germany (99) rose four points, Spain (61) rose three points and Italy (45) rose one point.

Positivity regarding the economy and spending

The report also shows that the proportion of Britons who believe the UK is in a recession fell for the fourth consecutive quarter, to 70% – the lowest level for six years (65% in Q1 2008).

The proportion who believe now is a good time to buy goods/services increased one point (to 36%) from the previous quarter. This is six points higher than the same quarter a year ago.

The number of Britons changing spending habits to save money remained at 65% quarter-on-quarter – one point lower than a year ago.

The number who felt positive about their personal finances remained at 43% quarter-on-quarter – seven points higher than a year ago.

Morley again: “The last year has seen a gradual upswing in UK consumer confidence as people see improvements in the economy. However, they’re still cautious and it’s unlikely we’ll see significant changes to their buying habits in the next couple of quarters. We’re not out of the woods yet, but the trees are thinning.”

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions each quarter among more than 30,000 internet consumers in 60 countries.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted Feb. 17 – March 7, 2014, and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on its Internet users, is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behaviour of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60-percent Internet penetration or 10M online population for survey inclusion. The China Consumer Confidence Index is compiled from a separate mixed methodology survey among 3,500 respondents in China. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands.