NEW YORK: Pressure on jobs and tight personal finances knocked consumer confidence levels around the world in Q3, with North America feeling the pinch particularly severely.

Latest figures from Nielsen show that sentiment decreased in almost half of the 53 markets it measured for its latest Global Consumer Confidence Index.

The Q3 index stands at 90, below the "neutral" confidence level of 100 and a three point decline from the previous quarter.

Nielsen data for the first two quarters of this year suggested that consumers anticipated economic recovery.

But the report shows that pain from the global economic downturn is still widespread, with one in four North Americans and one in five Europeans saying they have no discretionary income from month to month.

After covering essential living expenses, consumers felt less able to spend money on holidays for example, with the global average dropping from 37% in Q1 and Q2 2010 to just 31% in Q3.

Another area likely to see cutbacks is home improvements and decorating, with a decline from a steady 26% during the first half of 2010 to just 21% in the most recent period.

Correspondingly, those consumers who claim to have no spare cash have increased from 12% and 11% in the past two quarters to 14% for Q3.

The economy remains the single greatest concern of 27% of North Americans.

A further 10% of respondents in the US cited health as their biggest worry.

Meanwhile, consumers in Latin America - a region which has fared better in the recent global recession - were more worried about their work/life balance, job security, debt, crime and education than the economy.

Europeans were more worried about increasing utility bills than the economy affecting them in the next six months, while in the Asia Pacific region rising food prices appear to represent the greatest threat.

Globally, the Nielsen data suggest consumers do not anticipate a full economic recovery by the end of 2010.

Data sourced from Nielsenwire; additional content by Warc staff