Global consumer confidence plunges, but Indians still most optimistic
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In the United States, confidence dipped slightly between the third and fourth quarters but job prospects improved.
Since the survey was conducted U.S. lawmakers have reached a deal to avoid automatic tax rises and spending cuts, although they face more showdowns over fiscal measures in coming months, and economic data has pointed to a sluggish recovery.
"North America is slowly, but steadily heading in the right direction," said Bala. "With continued weakness in Europe and uneven growth in Asia, it may well be that with a brighter job market, the United States serves as the critical engine of improved global economic activity in 2013."
The U.S. economy unexpectedly contracted in the fourth quarter of 2012 but has got off to an encouraging start this year with manufacturing growing at the fastest pace in nine months in January and employment rising modestly.
The Nielsen survey was conducted between Nov. 10-27, 2012 and covered more than 29,000 online consumers across 58 markets.