Friday, May 25, 2018
Business

Florida consumer confidence zooms to five-year high

Floridians are feeling better about the economy now than at any other point since the onset of the Great Recession.

The state's consumer confidence index zoomed to a five-year high of 79 — up three points from a revised August reading of 76, according to a monthly University of Florida survey released Tuesday.

"The last time Florida consumer confidence hit 79 was in October 2007," said Chris McCarty, director of UF's Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. "At that time, confidence was on its way down as the housing crisis was getting under way. This month's index comes at a time when the economy is still in recovery."

The results mirrored a national survey released Tuesday that showed consumer confidence jumped to its highest level in seven months in September.

The Conference Board, an industry group, said its measure of consumer attitudes rose to 70.3 from an upwardly revised 61.3 in August. It was the highest level since February and topped economists' expectations for 63, according to a Reuters poll.

Fueling the surge: Americans were more optimistic about the job market and income prospects. Among other reasons for improved attitudes: Housing prices have been gradually rising in recent months and the stock market has held on to the gains made in the last two years.

"Despite continuing economic uncertainty, consumers are slightly more optimistic than they have been in several months," Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement.

The Florida survey showed increases in all five components that researchers use to measure short-term and long-term confidence. The biggest jump was a three-point rise in expectations the U.S. economy will be stronger a year from now.

The lowest level of confidence came in the measurement of whether survey takers think their own finances are better off now compared to a year ago.

Despite the relative rise in confidence, McCarty cautioned that there are still numerous drags facing the economy — high gas prices; a drought threatening further increases in food prices; the year-end "fiscal cliff" facing the national budget; high unemployment; and thousands of discouraged job seekers who have stopped looking for work.

Many of those issues are expected be addressed during presidential debates next month.

October, McCarty said, should prove an interesting month for consumer confidence.

The UF survey is benchmarked to 1966, which means a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence for that year.

Times wires contributed to this report. Jeff Harrington can be reached at (727) 893-8242 or [email protected]







Comments
Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Last year three members of the 69ers Motorcycle Club gang were implicated in the execution of a rival gang leader in the middle of rush hour traffic in Pasco County.Now those three and two other 69ers members have been indicted on federal charges tha...
Published: 05/25/18
With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

TAMPA — Behind the construction walls near the carousel at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, hammers, saws and power drills made a racket in the blazing Friday heat. A raft full of 100-pound water jugs took test trips on the new Roaring Springs ride set ...
Published: 05/25/18
U.S. news outlets block European readers over new privacy rules

U.S. news outlets block European readers over new privacy rules

LONDON ó U.S. news outlets including The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Orlando Sentinel and The Arizona Daily Star abruptly blocked access to their websites from Europe on Friday, choosing to black out readers rather than comply with a ...
Published: 05/25/18
Tampa Electric appeals OSHA findings for October accident

Tampa Electric appeals OSHA findings for October accident

TAMPA ó Tampa Electric Co. is appealing a recent citation by federal regulators. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration hit the utility with a $76,050 fine and a "serious" violation in April following its investigation into an accident in ...
Published: 05/25/18
Fiat Chrysler recalls 4.8 million cars, warning owners: Donít use the cruise control

Fiat Chrysler recalls 4.8 million cars, warning owners: Donít use the cruise control

Associated PressDETROIT ó Fiat Chrysler is recalling 4.8 million vehicles in the U.S. because in rare but terrifying circumstances, drivers may not be able to turn off the cruise control. The company is warning owners not to use cruise control until...
Published: 05/25/18
Federal Reserve chairman warns his agency must be free from political pressure

Federal Reserve chairman warns his agency must be free from political pressure

Associated PressFederal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned Friday that the Fedís independence from political pressure must be respected if it is to succeed in controlling inflation, maximizing employment and regulating the financial system. His re...
Published: 05/25/18
Restaurants like Ford’s Garage use the experience to get you in the door

Restaurants like Ford’s Garage use the experience to get you in the door

Tim Butler’s first car was a Ford Model A pick-up truck — a pearl fawn and cherry red pick-up he got his senior year in high school from his dad, who renovates antique cars. That’s why as Butler waited for a table at the Ford’...
Published: 05/25/18
St. Petersburg man fined $507,513 in penny stock scheme

St. Petersburg man fined $507,513 in penny stock scheme

TAMPA ó A St. Petersburg man was fined $507,513 and permanently barred from participating in the offering of a penny stock in a case involving a scheme to manipulate the price of Aureus, a penny stock company incorporated in Nevada, officials said Fr...
Published: 05/25/18
Broadcomís CEO tops highest-paid list with a $103 million payout

Broadcomís CEO tops highest-paid list with a $103 million payout

Times staff and wiresNEW YORK ó Chief executives at the biggest public companies got an 8.5 percent raise last year, bringing the median pay package for CEOs to $11.7 million. Across the S&P 500, compensation for CEOs is often hundreds of times highe...
Published: 05/25/18
Denis Phillips, hurricane season guru, talks his signature beer, suspenders and Rule #7

Denis Phillips, hurricane season guru, talks his signature beer, suspenders and Rule #7

SAFETY HARBOR ó Denis Phillips cracks a pop-top and pulls a can that looks a lot like him to his lips."Itís got that citrusy feel to it," he says. "Which is a Florida thing. Thatís not bad." Indeed, thereís a grapefruit finish to Rule #7 Hurricane Sa...
Published: 05/25/18