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. Related Group breaks ground on complex at old Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — When Miami developer Jorge Perez first eyed a 4.2-acre tract on the west bank of the Hillsborough River two years ago, people asked him if he wouldn't prefer to build on the opposite side closer to the downtown core.

    No way.

    From left, Related Group executive associate Arturo Penaa, Jorge Perez, center, founder and CEO of the Related Group, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Steve Patterson, the President of Related Development dig their shovels  during the groundbreaking ceremony of the 400 unit Riverwalk Manor apartment complex on site of the old Tampa Tribune building on Wednesday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  2. Eat 3-course meals for $35 at these 100 restaurants for Orlando's Magical Dining Month

    Food & Dining

    In the early 1900s, hotels offered "table d'hote" or "prix fixe" menus as a form of loss leader. Hotels didn't necessarily make money on these lower-priced, multi-course meals, often served at communal tables, but they made up for it on the booze. Prohibition may have contributed to a gradual shift toward a la carte …

    Bulla Gastrobar serves a variety of Spanish and Portuguese dishes.
  3. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman sells house for $3 million to new player

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman's multi-million Davis Islands home is staying in the Lightning family. Yzerman sold his 6,265-square-foot house Monday to new defenseman Dan Girardi for $3 million.

    The Davis Islands home of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman sold for $3 million Monday to Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi. | [Courtesy of Hi Res Media]
  4. Trigaux: As Florida seeks top 10 status as best business state, red flag rises on workforce


    In the eternal quest to appeal more to business than other states, Florida's managed to haul itself out of some pretty mediocre years. After scoring an impressive 8 among 50 states way back in 2007, Florida suffered horribly during and immediately after the recession. Its rank sank as low as No. 30 only four years ago, …

    Florida's trying to make strides in preparing its high school and college graduates for the rapidly changing skill sets of today's workforce. But the latest CNBC ranking of the best and worst states for business gave Florida poor marks for education, ranking No. 40 (tied with South Carolina for education) among the 50 states. Still, Florida ranked No. 12 overall in the best business states annual ranking. [Alan Berner/Seattle Times]
  5. For the first time in Florida, a white person is set to be executed for killing a black person.

    State Roundup

    GAINESVILLE — For the first time in state history, Florida is expecting to execute a white man Thursday for killing a black person — and it plans to do so with the help of a drug that has never been used before in any U.S. execution.

    This undated photo provided by the Florida Department of Corrections shows Mark Asay. If his final appeals are denied, Asay is to die by lethal injection after 6 p.m. Thursday. Asay was convicted by a jury of two racially motivated, premeditated murders in Jacksonville in 1987.  [Florida Department of Corrections via AP]