Planners Share Global Fear of Layoffs

Global consumer confidence has reached an all-time low, according to the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index released yesterday. Thrifty habits being formed during the downturn will carry over into the recovery.

In the past six months, the index has plummeted to a record low 77 points from 84 points. The catalyst: Latin America, Russia and other emerging nations are now feeling the full effects of a recession that began in the United States, officially, in December.

The index, compiled twice a year, tracks spending habits and concerns among 25,420 Internet users across 50 countries. Respondents were surveyed between March 19 and April 2.

Though consumer anxieties about the economy take many forms, the most widespread fear centers on job loss. For the first time in the Nielsen survey, it was global consumers' top concern, ranking No. 1 in 31 out of 50 countries surveyed.

Six months ago, only 9 percent of respondents cited job security as their primary worry. Now, nearly a quarter (22 percent) indicated they were more worried about going without a paycheck than over issues like work/life balance and the economy overall.

"With global redundancies affecting every industry, the economy and job security have eclipsed all other concerns in life today," James Russo, vice president of global consumer insights at The Nielsen Co., said in a prepared statement.

In a survey sent out to the readers of Successful Meetings and MeetingNews e-newsletters 43.8 percent of corporate planners, 21.7 percent of association planners, and 61.5 percent of independent planners said that their company has laid off meeting planners since October of 2008. When asked about their level of confidence that they would not be laid off, association planners felt the most secure averaging 3.39 on a scale of one to five with one being not confident and five being extremely confident. Corporate planners were the most concerned averaging 2.12 and independent planners averaging only slightly higher at 2.62. The survey drew 54 respondents from April 27 to May 1.