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Job market: Consumers' confidence rises across the globe

In every region except Latin America, consumers now expect the job market to be good or excellent in the coming year. The number is the highest since before the Great Recession.

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A 'Now Hiring' sign hangs on the door to the Urban Outfitters store at Quincy Market in Boston, Massachusetts on Sept. 5, 2014.

Brian Snyder/Reuters

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It was the smallest of jumps – a single percentage-point increase in a quarterly index – but it heralds an important milestone: Half of the world’s consumers now expect the job market to be good or excellent in the coming year, the highest number since right before the Great Recession.

The return to pre-recession norms came as every region except Latin America reported a boost in confidence in the second quarter of 2014, according to Nielsen’s Global Consumer Confidence survey. North America scored the biggest positive jump, with an eight-point surge, reports Nielsen, which conducted the Internet survey of more than 30,000 consumers across 60 nations.

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The Asia-Pacific region remains the most confident, nabbing the top four spots of the survey. India is No. 1: Fully 83 percent of Indians surveyed said the job market would be good or excellent in the coming year. The Philippines (77 percent), Indonesia (76 percent), and China (72 percent) are not far behind.

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At the other end of the spectrum are several nations on Europe’s periphery. Croatia and Portugal are tied for the bottom spot, with only 4 percent of their residents confident about the job market, followed by Serbia (6 percent) and Slovenia (6 percent).

The United States, which in May finally recovered all the jobs it lost in the Great Recession, is closer to the middle. It ranks No. 20 in the survey, with 46 percent of Americans confident about job prospects. Canadians, at 50 percent, are slightly more optimistic.

The next challenge is to boost the income of all those newly hired employees. Jobs gained since the recession pay an average $47,171, while the sectors that lost jobs during the recession paid an average $61,637, according to a study released in August by the US Conference of Mayors. That 23 percent gap is nearly twice the gap in evidence after the 2001-02 recession.