Make us your home page
Instagram

Florida consumer confidence up slightly, but widespread economic funk persists

Capping the oil spill in the gulf gave a boost to Florida consumer confidence this month, pushing it up slightly to the highest level since May, a University of Florida survey shows.

But survey organizers were quick to note that confidence levels remain sluggish, and far lower than a year ago, as double-digit unemployment and a slow housing market continue to weigh on Floridians.

"This is by no means a return to a state of optimism," said Chris McCarty, director of UF's Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

Indeed, two other reports released Tuesday indicate widespread queasiness over the lingering effects of the oil spill and the tenuous economic recovery:

• The national consumer confidence index fell to the lowest point since February, the New York-based Conference Board reported. The index, which would indicate a healthy economy at a level of 90, fell to 48.5 in September, down from 53.2 in August. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters were expecting 52.5.

"Overall, consumers' confidence in the state of the economy remains quite grim," Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's consumer research center, said in a statement. "And, with so few expecting conditions to improve in the near term, the pace of economic growth is not likely to pick up in the coming months."

• A Gallup survey of almost 2,600 Gulf Coast residents showed that depression cases are up more than 25 percent since the BP explosion and oil spill in the gulf five months ago.

A "well-being index" in the Gallup study concluded that many coastal residents were stressed out, worried and sad at a higher level than inland residents. The survey, which ended in August, was conducted over eight months before and after the spill in 25 counties from Texas to Florida.

BP has provided $52  million for mental health care in the gulf region.

On the upside, fears are easing that the economy will slip into a double-dip recession. New unemployment claims have fallen as corporate profits have strengthened. Meanwhile, stock prices have not only avoided a September swoon so far, but also are on track to put the Dow Jones Industrial Average even for the year.

The Florida consumer confidence index report, which rose two points to 68, also had glimmers of hope.

All five of the components that make up the index were up for the month. The biggest jump came in expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next year, which rose four points. The next biggest gain came in whether consumers consider this a good time to buy big-ticket items, which rose two points.

"It seems increasingly less likely that we will fall into another recession," McCarty said. "However, there are still a number of drags on the economy, and we should expect confidence to oscillate between the upper 60s and lower 70s at least through the end of the year."

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Florida consumer confidence up slightly, but widespread economic funk persists 09/28/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 10:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. First WannaCry, now cyberattack Petya spreads from Russia to Britain

    Business

    Computer systems from Russia to Britain were victims of an international cyberattack Tuesday in a hack that bore similarities to a recent one that crippled tens of thousands of machines worldwide.

    A computer screen cyberattack warning notice reportedly holding computer files to ransom, as part of a massive international cyberattack, at an office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday.  A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe.
[Oleg Reshetnyak via AP]
  2. Higher Social Security payouts help Florida post a big jump in personal income

    Personal Finance

    Personal income grew 1.3 percent in Florida in the first quarter of this year, a four-way tie among all states for second-fastest growth behind Idaho.

  3. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and estranged wife Carole put Beach Drive condo on the market

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo on the market for $1.5 million.

    U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo in Parkshore Plaza on the market for $1.5 million. {Courtesy of Amy Lamb/Native House Photography]
  4. Trigaux: Task now is for Water Street Tampa to build an identity

    Business

    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.
[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]
  5. Unlicensed contractor accused of faking death triggers policy change at Pinellas licensing board

    Local Government

    The unlicensed contractor accused of faking his death to avoid angry homeowners has triggered an immediate change in policy at the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]