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More than half of consumers globally upbeat on job prospects: Nielsen

By Susan Fenton

LONDON (Reuters) - More than half of consumers globally expect job prospects to be good to excellent in the year ahead, a survey showed on Tuesday.

That helped push global consumer confidence up in the second quarter to its highest since the first quarter of 2007, according to the survey by global information and insights company Nielsen.

India overtook Indonesia as the most optimistic consumer market, while Portugal and Slovenia were the most pessimistic.

Japan and Hong Kong saw the biggest declines in confidence from the previous quarter.

The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index rose 1 point in the second quarter to 97, according to the survey, conducted between May 12 and 30. The reading headed closer to the 100 mark that signals optimism among consumers.

U.S. consumers were the eighth most upbeat globally as optimism about job prospects surged.

"Payroll growth is visible across a range of (U.S.) sectors, which is also positive," said Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at the Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen. "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."

By region, consumers in the Asia Pacific were most confident about job prospects with 65 percent seeing favorable job opportunities for the year ahead, up from 64 percent in the first quarter.

Globally, 56 percent of respondents to the survey viewed their personal finances positively, up from 55 percent over the past three consecutive quarters. North America reported the biggest increase, with 63 percent of respondents feeling secure in money matters over the next 12 months, up from 59 percent in the first quarter.

While consumer confidence in debt-laden euro zone economies remained weak it improved sharply in Italy, which Nielsen attributed to confidence in Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's new government, formed in February.

Confidence also continued to slowly improve in Greece, France and Spain.

Outside the euro zone, consumer sentiment in Britain rose to its highest level since 2007 as the country's economy continued to outperform euro zone peers.

Ukraine, meanwhile, saw a rebound in consumer sentiment after a sharp fall in the first quarter following a political crisis and tensions with Russia after Moscow annexed the Crimea region.

The Nielsen survey covered more than 30,000 online consumers across 60 markets.

(editing by John Stonestreet)

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