Make us your home page

Florida consumer confidence still heading up

Bring on the sequestration and higher payroll taxes. Toss in slower economic growth. None of that is denting the optimism of most Floridians.

The University of Florida reported Tuesday that the state's consumer confidence index rose three points in April, the second consecutive monthly increase, reaching its highest point this year.

A national survey by the New York-based Conference Board also released Tuesday showed consumer confidence unexpectedly up in April, rebounding from a drop-off in March. The Conference Board's index climbed to 68.1, exceeding the highest estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Chris McCarty, survey director within the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research, said most economists would have expected confidence in the economy to be eroding as Americans face steeper taxes and federal budget cuts.

Nevertheless, those surveyed statewide were dramatically more optimistic, not just about their current finances but also expectations that they will be better off financially a year from now. Their trust in the current economy also rose three points.

The Florida index stood at 79 in April, a level of modest optimism but far better than late 2008 when it was hovering in the 50s. The economic barometer is benchmarked to 1966, which means a value of 100 indicates the same level of confidence for that year. The lowest possible index is 2; the highest is 150.

There were a few notable distinctions in the latest data, with younger and wealthier consumers more likely to be confident.

Confidence among Floridians making less than $30,000 a year fell by six points, but it rose four points for those earning more than $30,000. Similarly, confidence surged 10 points for those under 60 while falling three points among those age 60 and older.

McCarty cited a few reasons consumers may be feeling more financially fit: median housing prices statewide have risen to a 4 1/2-year high of $160,000; the stock market has been breaking records; and unemployment continues to drop, reaching 7.5 percent last month.

But any exuberance could be short-lived.

Many economists, McCarty pointed out, are still waiting for the effects of sequestration to ripple through the country, a process that could take months to unfold.

Florida consumer confidence still heading up 04/30/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 7:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 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.

  2. 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]
  3. Trigaux: Task now is for Water Street Tampa to build an identity


    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]
  4. 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]
  5. 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]