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Florida consumer confidence still near record low

Though consumer confidence nationwide jumped strongly this month, Floridians remain in an economic funk.

The Conference Board's national gauge of consumer confidence rose to 56 from a 40.9 reading in October, the biggest monthly gain since April 2003. Economists applauded the better-than-expected news from the New York research group as it came on the heels of a strong kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

Consumer sentiment was more subdued in the Sunshine State. The state's confidence index — which uses a different range than the Conference Board index — remained at 65 in November. That's just a few points above the record low and unchanged from the revised mark for October, according to the University of Florida's monthly phone survey.

"Consumers are slightly less optimistic about current conditions than they were last month and slightly more optimistic about long-run conditions," survey director Chris McCarty said.

Florida's monthly index ranges from 2 to 150 and is benchmarked to 1966, meaning a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence as in that year. The record low of 59 was set in June of 2008.

The current level is not only stuck near a historic low, but it "has previously been associated with recessionary levels," McCarty said.

The country officially exited the Great Recession in the summer of 2009, but the combination of high unemployment and very slow growth has continued to dog the economy.

Florida consumer confidence still near record low 11/29/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 7:46pm]
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