One vital factor in the road to economic recovery is the state of the job market. In the second quarter of 2014, an important milestone was reached when half of global online respondents in Nielsen’s Global Consumer Confidence survey said they believed the job market would be good or excellent in the upcoming year, a 1 percentage-point increase from the first quarter. While the quarterly increase was marginal, it was just enough to reach the pre-recession outlook of 50 percent—a level not achieved in seven years.
Consumers' positive perceptions toward local job prospects over the next 12 months increased in every region except Latin America during the quarter. The biggest quarterly surge in job optimism came from North America, increasing 8 percentage points to 46 percent. Meanwhile, Asia-Pacific respondents were most optimistic about employment opportunities: 65 percent believe that job prospects were favorable for the year ahead, up from 64 percent the previous quarter.
The outlook for future job prospects also increased in the Middle East/Africa (42%) and Europe (29%), rising 2 and 1 percentage points from the first quarter, respectively. In Latin America, 36 percent of respondents registered positive perceptions of employment opportunities, down from 42 percent in the first quarter.
"In the U.S., consistent trends concerning non-farm payroll growth and stable unemployment claims provide a welcome counterweight to the unexpectedly large decline in GDP growth in the first quarter,” said Dr. Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen. “Payroll growth is visible across a range of sectors, which is also positive. However, real-wage growth of workers has been anemic so far, and needs to pick up substantially, along with other improvements in the labor market, in order for consumer spending to increase in a broad-based way."
A direct relationship exists between consumers' confidence in the economy and their outlooks for jobs. When confidence is high, perceptions about jobs are typically optimistic, too. But to really understand how job prospects and consumer confidence interrelate, a deeper dive into the historical data by country is necessary. This quarter, we've released a unique new data visualization that allows you to interact with these measurements. The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Trend Tracker lets you explore consumer sentiments related to the economy that can affect decisions at retail—including attitudes toward employment opportunities, as well as personal finances and immediate spending intentions—across 60 markets.
The trend tracker provides at-a-glance visualizations on trended data stretching back to 2005 and gives you the ability to analyze trends globally, regionally and at the country level. Snapshot and trended views provide perspectives on what affects consumer confidence and how it changes overtime.
Other findings include:
For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions.
The findings in this survey are based on respondents with online access across 60 countries. While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective only on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration has not reached majority potential, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country. Additionally, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.