Sunday, January 21, 2018
Business

Florida consumer confidence falls for fourth straight month

Florida's consumer confidence fell in September for the fourth month in a row, raising concerns of a broader economic slump, according to a University of Florida survey released Tuesday.

The one-point decline pushed the state's confidence index down to 76, still much better than during the depths of the recession but showing heightened consumer concern.

"The decline is definitely a trend and one that is now being reflected in other economic data," said Chris McCarty, director of UF's Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

McCarty said the continued drop suggests that Floridians could face another recession if the federal government shuts down over yet another battle over the national debt.

Three of the five components measured in the monthly telephone survey fell. The biggest drop: faith that the economy will be better five years from now was down six points. Respondents also were less confident that both their personal finances and the U.S. economy would be in better shape a year from now.

Lower-income households were particularly pessimistic about their current and future personal finances, McCarty said.

Nationally, consumer confidence also fell slightly this past month, according to a report Tuesday from the New York-based Conference Board.

The private research group said dwindling optimism over hiring and pay increases led to the drop in the confidence index to 79.7 in September. That's down from August's reading of 81.8.

The optimism of consumers is closely watched on both the national and state level because consumer spending accounts for nearly three-fourths of all economic activity.

"It is worth noting that our July reading was among the first economic indicators to show what now appears to be a slowdown in both Florida and U.S. economic indicators," McCarty said.

Although Florida's unemployment rate fell to 7 percent last month, the improvement masks deeper problems within Florida's labor force. A big reason for the continued improvement is more people have stopped looking for work and are therefore no longer counted within the labor market. If discouraged job seekers return, it could drive unemployment back up.

Florida actually lost more than 4,000 jobs between July and August.

McCarty said economic conditions could worsen if political leaders in Washington can't resolve another battle over the national debt ceiling and a potential federal government shutdown ensues in the next couple of weeks.

"A shutdown of even a short duration would likely be enough to trigger another recession," he said. "Many economists have suggested we are due for another one given historical patterns."

Comments
Water Street Tampa sketches vision for Marriott Waterside (with video)

Water Street Tampa sketches vision for Marriott Waterside (with video)

TAMPA — Water Street Tampa developers outlined some broad goals for their planned $40 million renovation of the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina in a video posted to social media on Monday.In short, they want a hotel that feels inclusive, not ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Solar industry on edge as Trump weighs tariffs on panels

Solar industry on edge as Trump weighs tariffs on panels

Associated PressDALLAS — Some in the U.S. solar-power industry are hoping a decision this week by President Donald Trump doesn’t bring on an eclipse. Companies that install solar-power systems for homeowners and utilities are bracing for Trump’s call...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Tampa Bay ranks No. 5 for top moving destinations

Tampa Bay ranks No. 5 for top moving destinations

TAMPA — Tampa Bay was the No. 5 moving destination in 2017. Penske Truck Rental’s annual list ranks metro areas based on the number of one-way moving truck rentals to them.The Tampa Bay region, which includes Sarasota, held its position from 2016. It...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Free clinics respond as more people head to the ER with dental problems (w/video)

Free clinics respond as more people head to the ER with dental problems (w/video)

Charles Lee had been dealing with an excruciating toothache for days. The pain made it hard to eat or sleep or focus on work. But Lee, 54, didn’t have dental insurance. His job as a delivery truck driver offered only a supplemental policy that was to...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Fur and fury at 40,000 feet as more people bring animals on planes

Fur and fury at 40,000 feet as more people bring animals on planes

When Marlin Jackson arrived at his row on a Delta flight from Atlanta to San Diego in June, the middle seat was already occupied by a man with a sizable dog on his lap. Jackson squeezed by them to his window seat, and the Labrador mix lunged at his f...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Teens who spend less time in front of screens are happier - up to a point, new research shows

Teens who spend less time in front of screens are happier - up to a point, new research shows

In recent months, Silicon Valley executives have been speaking out about the purposely addictive designs of smartphones and social media, which make them hard to put down for anyone, but particularly teenagers. Now, a new report puts numbers to the w...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Sirata Beach Resort is getting a $15-million facelift

Sirata Beach Resort is getting a $15-million facelift

ST. PETE BEACH — A year ago, the longtime owners of the Sirata Beach Resort & Conference Center acknowledged they couldn’t afford the improvements it needed. They sold the 382-room hotel to a Texas company.Now the new owner has launched a $15 million...
Updated: 9 hours ago
This is how MoviePass hopes to make money off your low-cost subscription

This is how MoviePass hopes to make money off your low-cost subscription

MoviePass is a film nerd’s dream. The subscription service allows users to see one movie a day at a theater for a single monthly cost. The service isn’t new, but it’s become popular among a lot more than movie buffs in the past few months.During its ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Florida pump prices jump 10 cents, highest in four years

Florida pump prices jump 10 cents, highest in four years

Gas is off to an expensive start this year — the most expensive start since 2014. Florida pump prices jumped 10 cents in the past week to hit $2.54 per gallon Monday, 18 cents more than last month, according to AAA The Auto Club Group. Tampa Bay gas ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Tampa Bay jobs chief Ed Peachey making top dollar

Tampa Bay jobs chief Ed Peachey making top dollar

For years, Edward Peachey has bragged about the number of jobless people he has helped find work.As president and CEO of CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay, he’s in charge of the two main government agencies that provide training to the...
Published: 01/20/18