Advertisement
  1. Business

Floridians' consumer confidence rebounds in June

While Floridians in a University of Florida consumer confidence survey last month felt more optimistic about their personal finances and the future of the U.S. economy in five years, a growing number said for the third month in a row that this is not a good time to make a major household purchase like an appliance. (Times files)
While Floridians in a University of Florida consumer confidence survey last month felt more optimistic about their personal finances and the future of the U.S. economy in five years, a growing number said for the third month in a row that this is not a good time to make a major household purchase like an appliance. (Times files)
Published Jul. 5, 2019

Everywhere they looked in May, Floridians felt pessimistic about their own finances and the economy as a whole.

In June, their spirits lifted.

After registering its biggest one-month drop in four years during May, Floridians' consumer confidence rose last month in three out of five areas measured in a monthly cell-phone survey of 453 residents by the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

'PESSIMISM IN MAY': Floridians' economic confidence dips amid talk of tariffs

Floridians surveyed during June felt more confident about their own finances, both now, as compared to a year ago, and what they expect a year from now. And a growing number also saw reason for hope about the state of national economy in five years.

"The increase in June's confidence came mainly from consumers' current financial situation compared with a year ago," Hector H. Sandoval, director of the bureau's economic analysis program, said in an announcement of the survey results. But, he said, not everyone felt the same. Those earning more than $50,000 and younger than 60 were more confident, while those earning less than that and 60 or older had more doubts. "Overall though, Floridians are more optimistic."

Still, for the third month in a row, fewer said this was a good time to buy something big for the home like an appliance. They also found hesitation growing no matter what the age, gender or income of the respondents. Meanwhile, a study this spring by two economists at the University of Chicago and a third from the Federal Reserve found that in response to a 20 percent tariff that the Trump administration imposed on foreign-made washing machines, prices rose nearly 12 percent for both imported and U.S.-made washing machines. And the researchers found a similar price increase for dryers, which were not subject to the tariffs. Those price increases amounted to about $86 per washer and $92 per dryer, the study found.

Looking ahead, researchers expect "consumer sentiment to remain high in the following months," Sandoval said. "However, considering Floridians' expectations about the national economy in the short run, further declines in the major household item component (of the survey) might predict a slowdown in the consumption of durable goods."

The survey group for June was 56 percent men, 43 percent women and had an average age of 48. Fifty-three percent earned more than $50,000 a year, 69 percent were white and 19 percent were Hispanic. After compiling survey answers, the bureau assigns an index score from 2 (the most pessimistic) to 150 (the most optimistic) to the overall level of optimism found among respondents. That score was 97.2 in June, up from 96 in May.

MORE: Go here for more business news

Contact Richard Danielson at rdanielson@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times