Make us your home page

Consumer confidence falls among Floridians

After a two-month upswing, consumer confidence among Floridians fell across the board in February "as hopes for a quick fix to the nation's economic crisis faded," according to a University of Florida report released Tuesday.

Economist Chris McCarty with UF's Bureau of Economic and Business Research, said waning optimism reflects that "the novelty of a new administration" has worn off, "met with the sustained reality of a faltering economy."

"Consumers are reporting severe financial strain and are bracing for the long recession that most economists have predicted," he said.

UF's report mirrored national numbers also out Tuesday. The New York-based Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index plummeted more than 12 points in February to 25. That set a new low and was well below the 35.5 level expected by economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

"Increasing concerns about business conditions, employment and earnings have further sapped confidence and driven expectations to their lowest level ever," Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement.

The 3-point drop in Florida's consumer confidence pushed the index to 63, four points above its all-time low of 59.

All five of the components that make up Florida's index dropped: Expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next five years fell 6 points to 69; expectations of economic conditions over the next year fell 4 points to 51; expectations of personal finances a year from now fell 3 points to 80; perceptions of personal finances now compared to a year ago fell 1 point to 42; and perceptions of whether it is a good time to buy big-ticket items fell 1 point to 73.

A monthly telephone survey, UF's consumer confidence index is benchmarked to 1966, so a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence for that year.

McCarty said a temporary upswing in the index in December and January was related to optimism about the incoming Obama administration and federal intervention into the economy.

Unlike previous government efforts to jump-start the economy, the recently passed stimulus package offers much to everyday consumers, McCarty said, between tax cuts, extended unemployment benefits, and health insurance and relief for troubled homeowners.

Still, consumers are waiting for signs that the overall economy is improving, and those signs aren't forthcoming.

"Unfortunately, as time moves on, the problems with the economy will become less associated with housing and evolve into something more difficult to resolve," McCarty said. "There is no doubt that we will be working through this recession through this year and into 2010."

McCarty predicted that consumer confidence among Floridians will remain below 70 through 2009.

Consumer confidence falls among Floridians 02/24/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 4:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. SeaWorld shares drop Monday to 2017 low after disclosure of federal subpoena


    The Orlando parent company of SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks saw its stock drop 3.5 percent Monday to $15.10, its lowest price of this year.

    Killer whales perform at Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld in Orlando in 2011, before public pressure was placed on the theme park company to curtail its orca shows.SeaWorld has since announced an end to the traditional killer whale entertainment  at its theme parks. [AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack]
  2. Rick Scott appoints longtime ally Jimmy Patronis as Florida CFO

    State Roundup
    Rick Scott appoints Jimmy Patronis (background) as CFO. [STEVE BOUSQUET | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Local gas prices plummet as Fourth of July holiday travel approaches


    TAMPA — Local gas prices are enjoying an unseasonal dip around the $2 mark just in time for the hectic Fourth of July holiday travel weekend.

    The price of regular unleaded gasoline has dropped to $1.99 at a Rally station on Pasadena Ave. South and Gulfport Boulevard South, South Pasadena.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  4. Air bag recalls, lawsuits lead Takata to file for bankruptcy


    Shattered by recall costs and lawsuits, Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. filed Monday for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., saying it was the only way it could keep on supplying replacements for faulty air bag inflators linked to the deaths of at least 16 people.

    Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. CEO Shigehisa Takada bows during a press conference in Tokyo on Monday. Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of defective air bag inflators.
[(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]
  5. Airbag maker Takata bankruptcy filing expected in Japan, U.S.


    DETROIT — Japanese airbag maker Takata Corp. has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of faulty air bag inflators.