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Job concerns knock consumer confidence to record lows

Consumer confidence has plummeted to a record low because of increasing concerns over job prospects.

According to the latest six-monthly survey by Nielsen and the British Retail Consortium, which asks consumers for their thoughts on job prospects, personal finances and spending intentions, 84% of consumers believe the country is in recession, up from 65% of people surveyed in May.

Nielsen and the BRC said that the consumer confidence index for Great Britain had fallen to 74 points, down from 79 points in May. The index was at 94 points this time last year, and peaked at 101 points in spring 2006.

The dip in consumer confidence has been largely fuelled by concerns about job prospects. 70% of those surveyed said that they thought their job prospects were "not so good" or that they were "bad".

60% of those surveyed said that their personal finances were "not so good", while 69% said that now was "not a good time" or that it was a "bad time" to buy the things they wanted or needed.

Just 18% of those polled said they thought the country would be out of recession within a year.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: "With only one in five people believing a recession will be over this time next year, it's certainly going to be a tough Christmas and New Year. But their are reasons for optimism. The Bank of England's shock rate cut should get the economy's heart beating again. Some key costs are falling, bringing shop prices down, and retailers are fighting back with promotions and price cuts. This can be a good time to be a customer."

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