Sunday, July 15, 2018
Business

Florida consumer confidence surprisingly rises

In defiance of conventional wisdom — and much of the rest of the country — Florida consumers are feeling more chipper about the economy, according to a monthly survey released Tuesday.

Florida's consumer confidence index rose three points in March to 73, the University of Florida survey found.

"This rise was unexpected," acknowledged Chris McCarty, director of UF's Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. "The fear has been that the combination of the payroll tax expiration and sequestration would dampen the recent growth in consumer activity. But Florida confidence is sharply out of line with that perception."

Things were different at the national level. The Conference Board on Tuesday reported that its national consumer confidence index fall sharply in March to 59.7, down from 68 in February. The retreat was driven largely by a big decline in expectations, but consumers were also more pessimistic about current conditions.

Likewise, a recent University of Michigan study found the confidence level for the entire U.S. fell by almost six points in the wake of federal budget cuts triggered by the sequestration process.

Floridians showed increased confidence in four of the five components measured by the telephone poll. One gauge in particular — whether consumers felt better off financially than a year ago — jumped four points to reach a level of optimism not seen since 1992.

The only drop came when respondents were asked if they would be better off financially a year from now.

McCarty suggested the higher confidence may be tied to lower gas prices, an improving housing market and the continued drop in Florida's unemployment rate, which recently fell below the national unemployment rate for the first time in five years.

Comments
This Florida burger joint is one of the 10 best in America, travel website says

This Florida burger joint is one of the 10 best in America, travel website says

A 2½-hour drive south could land Tampa residents at one of America’s best burger joints, according the review and travel website TripAdvisor.com.The website released a list of the "10 Most Delectable Burger Joints" in America on Wednesday, placing Na...
Published: 07/14/18
SunPass is a mess. Florida could have seen it coming.

SunPass is a mess. Florida could have seen it coming.

Florida’s SunPass electronic tolling system is a mess. The vendor who runs the system has a backlog of unprocessed charges now running into the millions, a total accumulated since it stopped processing tolls on June 1.Earlier this week, after it bega...
Published: 07/13/18
Updated: 07/14/18
Florida’s economy passes $1 trillion mark Friday

Florida’s economy passes $1 trillion mark Friday

Florida may seem like another country sometimes with its wacky "Florida man" stories and uniquely-Florida crimes, but it’s like another country in a new way as of today — its economic clout. Florida’s economy topped $1 trillion Friday, meaning that i...
Published: 07/13/18
Free, eco-friendly taxi service is coming to downtown St. Petersburg this August

Free, eco-friendly taxi service is coming to downtown St. Petersburg this August

ST. PETERSBURG — As downtowns grow — like St. Petersburg’s burgeoning central city — so does traffic, carbon emission and the amount of money spent on gas.The Nickel Ride, a free, eco-friendly taxi service, is looking to change that, and the next cit...
Published: 07/13/18
So far, so good. Doctors at Tampa General find success with a device that fights often-fatal aneurysms

So far, so good. Doctors at Tampa General find success with a device that fights often-fatal aneurysms

TAMPA — Dr. Murray Shames holds a flexible, lightweight tube as wide as two garden hoses pushed together in his office at Tampa General Hospital. The polyester tube, and its thinner fastening branches with metal wiring, will be attached inside someon...
Published: 07/13/18
Is a bike lane backlash brewing over St. Pete’s MLK Jr. Street N?

Is a bike lane backlash brewing over St. Pete’s MLK Jr. Street N?

ST. PETERSBURG — In the next month, the city is poised to launch one of the most ambitious bike lane projects in the Tampa Bay area.But some local business owners want to stop construction of those bike lanes along two miles of one of the city’s busi...
Published: 07/13/18
Study says Tampa has some of the highest overdraft and banking fees nationwide

Study says Tampa has some of the highest overdraft and banking fees nationwide

Florida, including Tampa Bay, has some of the highest bank fees in the country, according to a recent study by bank comparison site DepositAccounts.The website broke down overdraft fees, third-party ATM fees and monthly service fees to rank the 50 bi...
Published: 07/13/18

Miss out on Build-A-Bear’s Pay Your Age deal? Chuck E. Cheese has a Friday solution

Did you and your kids miss out on pay-your-age Build-A-Bear promotion? Perhaps they’d rather play some video games over a slice of pizza.In a promotion that some may say smacks a bit of piling on, Chuck E. Cheese announced an All You Can Play promoti...
Published: 07/13/18
Brink: Extending the Suncoast Parkway has gone from boondoggle to folly

Brink: Extending the Suncoast Parkway has gone from boondoggle to folly

In a few short weeks, the Suncoast 2 toll road project has gone from boondoggle to folly.State officials pitched the 13-mile extension of the Suncoast Parkway as a step toward eventually linking the road to Interstate 75 near Ocala via a project dubb...
Published: 07/13/18
Nissan recalls about 105K cars to replace Takata air bags

Nissan recalls about 105K cars to replace Takata air bags

Associated PressDETROIT — Nissan is recalling nearly 105,000 small cars to replace Takata passenger air bag inflators that can explode and hurl shrapnel at drivers and passengers. Included are the 2011 Versa sedan and the 2011 and 2012 Versa hatchbac...
Published: 07/13/18