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Consumer confidence has reached a five-year high, but future optimism currently sits with how individuals view the 2012 presidential contest and less with the looming reality of the nation hitting the fiscal cliff, according to a University of Florida report.
The report released Tuesday reveals the state's consumer confidence index jumped to a five-year high of 79 -- up three points from a revised August reading of 76.
The monthly consumer confidence numbers from UF’s survey research center at the Bureau of Economic and Business Research indicated that supporters of President Obama are more optimistic about the future, with backers of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney envisioning the economy sinking back into recession.
“October will be an interesting month for consumer confidence,” said Chris McCarty, the survey director for the center.
“The presidential debate on October 3rd will focus on domestic policy and will almost certainly include a direct question about the fiscal cliff in January. Those Floridians who are still not aware of the potential effects of the looming cuts and tax increases will certainly know about them after that.”
Gov. Rick Scott noted the report -- which showed Floridians had better perceptions of their finances than a year ago and expectations of an improved economy in both one and five years -- as a sign that efforts to cut regulations and reduce state spending has helped the improved outlook by Floridians.
“While we still have more work to do, we see that our economy continues to improve,” Scott stated in a release.
“Last week, we learned that 28,000 more Floridians found jobs in the private sector in August and are now able to provide for their families. The fact that Florida’s consumer confidence is at a five-year high is more good news and evidence that our state is moving in the right direction.”
Rick Scott: Florida Consumer Confidence 'Moving in the Right Direction' - Sunshine State News - September 26, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s September consumer confidence reached a post-recession high of 79 — up three points from a revised August reading of 76, according to a monthly University of Florida survey.
“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 September survey showed increases in all five components that researchers use to assess the collective economic opinion of Floridians.
According to September’s findings, the component measuring respondents’ overall view of whether they think they are better off economically today compared to a year ago rose one point to 62. In addition, their expectations that personal finances will improve a year from now rose one point to 86. Meanwhile, survey takers’ overall faith in the U.S. economy over the next year rose three points to 78. They are also optimistic about the nation’s economic health over the next five years. That figure went up two points to 84. Finally, Floridians’ assessment that the present is a good time to buy big-ticket items, such as automobiles and refrigerators, rose two points to 82.
Despite this uptick in optimism, several economic conditions serve as a drag to Florida’s recovery. For one thing, job losses in construction and government helped keep the state’s unemployment rate in August unchanged from the previous month at 8.8 percent. Normal unemployment levels range from 5.5 to 6 percent.
“August also saw a decline of 10,000 people in the labor force,” said McCarty. Many of these individuals are discouraged workers who have abandoned their search for employment. This parallels a national trend.
UF: Florida consumer confidence hits five-year high - University of Florida News - September 25, 2012
More on this topic:
Florida consumer confidence zooms to five-year high - Tampa Bay Times - September 25, 2012
Floridians' consumer confidence hits post-recession high - South Florida Business Journal - September 25, 2012
Florida consumer confidence hits five-year high - Sun Sentinel - September 25, 2012
Florida's consumer confidence hits 5-year high - Ocala.com - September 25, 2012
Florida's consumer confidence hits 5-year high - News-Press.com - September 25, 2012
Florida's consumer confidence hits 5-year high - CNBC - September 25, 2012
Florida's consumer confidence hits 5-year high - CBS - September 25, 2012
State consumer confidence hits post-recession high - Gainesville Sun - September 25, 2012
Consumer Confidence Index: Floridians Optimistic About Economy - TheLedger.com - September 25, 2012
University: Florida Consumer Confidence At Post-Recession High - NorthEscambia.com - September 26, 2012
Consumer confidence report shows optimism - NewsChief.com - September 26, 2012
Consumer confidence reaches a five-year high in Florida - Tampa Bay Business Journal - September 26, 2012
Floridians’ Consumer Confidence at Highest Level Since 2007 - FlaglerLive.com - September 26, 2012
UF research center finds increase in consumer confidence, discusses effect - WUFT - September 26, 2012
Floridians' consumer confidence remains nearly as high as it has been since the Great Recession hit in late 2007, according to a monthly University of Florida index released Tuesday.
However, that upbeat attitude is muted compared to good years before hard times hit, said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. "It's not back to normal ... but it's better than when we were in the recession," McCarty said
August's overall consumer confidence level was at 77; it remained unchanged from July's revised number. "The current consumer confidence for Floridians is only a point below the post-recession high of 78," McCarty said.
But most years before 2008 when Floridians' consumer confidence fell sharply, most monthly scores were above 90, McCarty said. "Only two were below 80, and they occurred during the recession of 1991 and 1992," he said.
Today's economy recovery from the Great Recession has been slow -- certainly not vibrant enough for Floridians to abandon their caution, the researcher added. "We're still dragging," McCarty said. "Many consumer would really debate whether it is a recovery."
Hurricane Andrew was not the deadliest storm ever to strike South Florida. It was not the costliest, even though the damage estimate of $45 billion in today's dollars puts it very near the top.
And Andrew – with sustained winds estimated at 175 mph – was the second-strongest ever to hit the U.S. coast when it roared quickly across southMiami-Dade County20 years ago this week.
But no storm in modern history did more to change the face of South Florida.
According to Chris McCarty, director of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida, Andrew forced 353,000 Miami-Dade County residents from their homes temporarily and almost 40,000 people left the county permanently. Many settled in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Hurricane Andrew still reverberates - Sun Sentinel - August 20, 2012
The key to Gainesville's fortunes will be for the population to grow faster than projected over the next 30 years, according to economist David Denslow.
Denslow, research economist at the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research and recently retired UF professor, presented his economic forecast at the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce's Summer Lunch Series on Thursday with about 120 people in attendance at the Best Western Gateway Grand.
The Gainesville Metropolitan Statistical Area — consisting of Alachua and Gilchrist counties — is forecast to grow about 1 percent a year over 30 years, putting it in the range of 350,000 to 360,000 people, he said.
What is desirable and feasible, he said, would be annual growth of 2 to 2.3 percent to double the population to 500,000 to 600,000 people by 2042.
The population in Lee and Collier counties is estimated to have increased since 2010, likely due to an increase in baby boomers looking for second homes, retirees moving to Florida, people taking advantage of lower housing prices and a slightly stronger job outlook.
The population is estimated to have grown 3.1 percent in Lee County and 2.6 percent in Collier County from 2010 to 2012, according to census data and preliminary population estimates from the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida.
Fort Myers led the way in Lee County with an estimated 7.3 percent growth from 2010 to 2012. BEBR’s preliminary population estimate for 2012 is 66,835, according to an electronic submission from the Lee County Department of Community Development. That is up from 62,298 in the 2010 census.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Consumer confidence among Floridians rose in July by three points from the revised June figure to 76, which is nine points higher than this time last year, according to a monthly University of Florida survey.
“In July, consumers are feeling much better about their personal finances compared to June and their circumstances since the recession ended 2 ½ years ago,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
Among the five components used to measure confidence, three showed an increase. Survey takers’ overall perceptions that they are better off financially today than a year ago rose five points to 66. “That’s the highest since the end of the Great Recession in December 2009,” McCarty said.
Expectations that their personal finances will improve by this time next year also went up by six points to 82. Finally, perceptions that now is a good time to buy big-ticket items, such as washing machines and dryers, rose seven points to 84.
In the bigger picture, though, sentiment seems to be less rosy.
“While consumers are more positive about their personal finances, they are gloomy about the U.S. economy over the next several years,” McCarty said.
David Denslow has spent a career studying economic trends affecting the state, nation and world.
Now that he's retired from the University of Florida, he's planning to spend more time looking at the economy closer to home.
Denslow, an economics professor and researcher, officially retired May 15 from UF. He estimates that he taught about 102,000 students, mostly in his popular introductory macroeconomics course, during more than 40 years at the university.
He also has been a research economist for UF's Bureau of Economic Business Research, has testified before state lawmakers and been part of state task forces on the economy. His retirement means he has stopped teaching, but he said he plans to continue working on a backlog of research on issues including the local economy.
"I want to try to understand the one thing in my career that I've not understood, and that's the economy of Gainesville," he said.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Consumer confidence among Floridians sank four points this month, after jumping four points to 78 in May, according to a University of Florida survey.
“In June Floridians reversed their optimism about their future finances,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “The decline was across age and income groups and did not reflect a specific policy change.”
In fact, there have been recent positive trends in Florida’s housing and job market, he added.
For the first time since February, all five components used to measure confidence declined. For example, perceptions of survey takers that they are better off financially now than they were a year ago fell one point to 61. Meanwhile, their overall expectations that their personal finances will improve a year from now fell 10 points to 86.
Respondents were also glum in their assessment of broader issues. Their confidence in the national economy over the coming year dropped three points to 73, while their trust in the national economy’s prospects for the next five years fell four points to 84. Floridians’ confidence in whether now is a good time to buy big-ticket consumer items, such as televisions and automobiles, also fell, dropping four points to 78.
In May, consumer confidence was largely buoyed by perceptions that personal finances would improve. Such thinking “was likely due to the dramatic drop in gas prices between April and May, a decline of more than 50 cents a gallon,” McCarty said.
Although gas prices have continued to fall since then, the associated optimism may have slowed in June, McCarty said, because of increased news coverage about expiring tax cuts and automatic budget cuts in January that could disrupt the economy.
The burden of Florida's property taxes would likely shift away from first-time homebuyers, developers, snowbirds and landlords and weigh down the state's existing homeowners under a ballot measure approved last year by state lawmakers and pushed this year by Florida's real-estate industry.
The biggest beneficiaries of constitutional Amendment 4, which will appear on the November ballot, would be first-time homebuyers, who would initially pay property taxes as if their houses were worth about half the typical home price in the county where they live.
But any property-tax reductions for new homeowners or nonhomeowners would likely involve existing homeowners having to take up at least some of the slack.
"It obviously has a lot of implications for homeowners — who are going to end up paying for it in some form — and also for people who will benefit from it," said Christopher McCarty, director of the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research.