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UF: Consumer Sentiment in Florida drops four points in June

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Consumer Sentiment 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 Sentiment 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.

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UF: Consumer Sentiment in Florida drops four points in June - University of Florida News - June 26, 2012

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Floridians' Consumer Sentiment sinks amid fears of stalled national economy - Sun Sentinel - June 26, 2012

Florida losing confidence in economy - Miami Herald - June 26, 2012

Floridians' confidence dips in June - Gainesville Sun - June 26, 2012

Florida Consumer Sentiment drops 4 points - South Florida Business Journal - June 26, 2012

Fla. Consumer Sentiment up in May, down in June - WEAR-TV (Pensacola, Mobile, Ft. Walton Beach) - June 26, 2012

U.S. and Florida consumers' confidence declines - Sarasota Herald-Tribune - June 26, 2012

Infographic: Florida Consumer Sentiment falls in June - the Florida Current - June 26, 2012

Floridians' Consumer Sentiment sinks amid fears of stalled national economy - Orlando Sentinel - June 27, 2012

 

 

Homeowners may pick up property-tax slack if amendment passes in November

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.

Duval lags behind Florida population rebound

As go moving trucks, so goes Florida's economy.

Florida's population surged during the real estate boom when job-hunters and retirees moved into the state. That growth fed on itself as newcomers generated demand for construction, retail and other services.

Then the housing market collapsed. Florida's growth hit a jarring speed bump.

Now, the pendulum is swinging again in Florida's favor as the economy stabilizes. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that from July 2010 to July 2011 about 177,000 more people moved into the state than left it.

But Duval County lagged. The Census estimated Duval actually was a net loser in terms of where people went — about 40 more people moved out of Duval County than came here.

Improvements in the job and housing markets have helped Florida regain its standing as a destination for people on the move, said Stan Smith, director of the population program at the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

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Summer surprise: Gas prices will continue to drop, analysts say

Just in time for people's vacations, analysts say gas prices in Florida will continue to fall  this summer.

Prices have already fallen Tuesday as low as $3.26 a gallon in Broward, $3.23 in Miami-Dade and $3.27 in Palm Beach County after jumping above $4 earlier this year.

The unexpected drop is resulting from a global  drop in demand for gas, particularly in debt-ridden Europe,  said Chris McCarty,  director of the University of Florida Survey Research Center and its Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

 "This is the second year in a row where we have experienced an unusual pattern: rising prices through the spring with a drop during the summer,"  McCarty said. "Usually the reverse is true with gas prices peaking sometime in July."

"The odd behavior of gas prices is further evidence about how unsettled the economy is both nationally and globally," he added.

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Summer surprise: Gas prices will continue to drop, analysts say - Sun Sentinel - June 19, 2012

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Cheaper gas may fuel record level of July Fourth travel - Orlando Sentinel - June 19, 2012

 

Number of South Floridians on food stamps continues to hit record high

The number of Floridians on food stamps continues to hit record numbers -- with South Florida having an increase of more than 1.5 percent in May, said a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Children & Families that oversees the federal food program.

The total number of Floridians on food stamps was up 1.2 percent in May to 3.4 million, a relatively small increase compared to the big jumps during the Great Recession, said DCF press secretary Erin Gillespie.But, she said, "we had thought it might go down."

Florida has been among the few states where underemployment involved one out of five workers who were either out of work or looking to pick up more hours to earn more money, according to Gallup Daily Tracking done earlier this year.

"We need growth in the job sector," said Patrice Schroeder of 211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast. Some jobless are applying for food stamps because they’ve exhausted their savings.

Others find low-paying or part-time work and still need food stamps to help feed their families, added Chris McCarty, director of the University of Florida’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

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Number of South Floridians on food stamps continues to hit record high - SunSentinel - June 11, 2012

UF: Consumer Sentiment in Florida jumps three points in May

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Consumer Sentiment among Floridians rose three points to 77 in May, reversing a three-month decline, according to a monthly University of Florida survey. The latest figure is nine points higher than it was a year ago.

“This is a welcome turnaround in Consumer Sentiment,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “The rise in confidence in May was particularly strong among those under age 60 and those with household incomes above $30,000.”

Three of the five index components used in the study showed rising confidence. For example, the overall expectations among respondents that their personal finances will improve in the coming year jumped eight points to 87 from last month. Confidence in the U.S. economy in the coming year went up one point to 74, while trust in economic conditions over the next five years rose five points to 81.

Perceptions of whether now is a good time to purchase big-ticket items such as houses, automobiles and refrigerators remained unchanged at 80. Only one component showed a decline: Respondents’ assessment of their current financial situations compared with a year ago fell one point to 62.

The sudden rise in Consumer Sentiment is strange given “the potential ‘fiscal cliff’ due at the beginning of 2013 that is now being reported in the news,” McCarty said. Several pressing economic issues, unless acted upon by Congress and the president, could dampen the current optimism, he said. Expiring Bush tax cuts will result in higher taxes for most households. In addition, mandated automatic cuts in domestic and military spending and yet another battle over raising the debt ceiling could shake Consumer Sentiment as early as next year.

“These events are only now making their way into the news and are probably not factored into the growth in optimism among respondents,” McCarty said.

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UF: Consumer Sentiment in Florida jumps three points in May - University of Florida News - May 29, 2012

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Consumer Sentiment rebounds in Florida - Miami Herald - May 29, 2012

Florida Consumer Sentiment jumps in May - Tampa Bay Times - May 29, 2012

Floridians' confidence in the economy jumps in May - Sun Sentinel - May 29, 2012

Floridian's Consumer Sentiment finally rises - South Florida Business Journal - May 29, 2012

State Consumer Sentiment improves - Gainesville Sun - May 29, 2012

Fla. Consumer Sentiment rebounded 3 points in May - CBS News - May 29, 2012

Consumer Sentiment in Florida jumps in May - The Florida Current - May 29, 2012

Fla. Consumer Sentiment rebounded 3 points in May - Bloomberg Businessweek - May 29, 2012

Consumer Sentiment rebounds in Florida - Bradenton Herald - May 29, 2012

Local Economy: Floridians Turn Optimistic - The Ledger - May 30, 2012

Florida’s Consumer Sentiment rises in May - Tampa Bay Business Journal (blog) - May 30, 2012

Consumer Sentiment in Florida jumps in May - Tampa Bay Times - May 30, 2012

Florida's Consumer Sentiment gains - Herald-Tribune -  May 30, 2012

Florida Consumer Sentiment Rises - Brevard Times - May 30, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarasota and Charlotte still tops for 85+ in Florida

More than anywhere in Florida, you are more likely to see an 85-year-old face in Sarasota County than one belonging to an infant or toddler.

New Census data shows Sarasota and Charlotte counties are No. 1 and No. 2 in the state for their percentage of residents 85 or older.

By a wide margin, that age group also is the fastest-growing in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. The population group now makes up more than 5 percent of Sarasota County's population for the first time. It outnumbers children under five by nearly 5,000 — the biggest gap in the state.

In all but five Florida counties, the under-five age group outnumbers the older group. But statewide, the 85-and-older group was the fastest-growing from 2010 to 2011.

The data may reflect a re-establishment of the retiree pipeline to Southwest Florida, which was interrupted by the downturns in the economy and real estate.

The 2010 Census came when the state's population was flat and some older population groups were shrinking, said Stefan Rayer, a research demographer at the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

But some economists view the population growth in the 2011 Census estimates as an indication that retirees are again moving to Florida in large numbers.

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Sarasota and Charlotte still tops for 85+ in Florida - Herald-Tribune - May 20, 2012

 

New data: Number of serious crimes drops in county, state

The number of serious violent and property crimes -- or at least the ones tracked by state and federal law enforcement -- dropped slightly in Alachua County from 2010 to 2011, while the Gainesville Police Department's load of such cases dropped by more than 9 percent, according to data released this week.

Overall, the crime rate in Florida last year was the lowest in 41 years, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced as it released the annual Uniform Crime Report, showing that violent crime had dropped by nearly 4 percent.

The total number of so-called index crimes -- murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft -- declined in Florida by 0.1 percent and in Alachua County by almost 2.4 percent.

However, based on the Alachua County population count used in the UCR, the report showed that the crime rate went up 0.9 percent in the county.

The UCR used figures that showed Alachua County's population dropped by 3 percent from 2010 to 2011, though the 2010 number likely was an estimate issued before the census was conducted that year, said Scott Cody, a demographer with the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research, which provides the population data for the report.

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New data: Number of serious crimes drops in county, state - Gainesville Sun - May 1, 2012

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New data show Duval murder rate has led state for dozen years, even for 2010 - Florida Times Union - May 3, 2012

 

The future of Florida: Charting a new course

In the fall of 2007, as home prices in Florida began slipping and population growth braked drastically from what had been a 1,000-person-a-day clip, Wall Street Journal reporter Conor Dougherty wrote an article headlined "Is Florida Over?"

The story cataloged a host of challenges to Florida's traditional model of growth that depended on cheap homes, retirees and tourists. Dougherty described a new Florida of expensive houses, costly insurance and congested roads — one growing less attractive to retirees, whom other neighboring states were eagerly courting. Time magazine chimed in with a piece musing on whether Florida had become the "Sunset State."

The stories created an instant public relations migraine for many economic development professionals in the state who worried how the portrayal of Florida would affect recruitment efforts and growth. "We had quite a number of Wall Street Journal articles that really painted storm clouds over Florida," says Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. "And if you're a site selection company who's looking at relocating to Florida, you're reading all the same articles we are."

Economists pointed out that despite the state's troubles during the recession, it hadn't lost all its allure. "I wouldn't agree that Florida is over in any sense of population growth," says University of Florida economics professor Stan Smith. "It's still growing, just not as rapidly."

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The future of Florida: Charting a new course - Florida Trend - April 30, 2012

Median Household Income Gap at $18,000

(BLACK PR WIRE) – The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provides information of an 18 percent split of financial income in America, from the study of Trends in the Distribution of Household Income Between 1979 to 2007, published October 2011.

Florida residents are unaware of the increasing gap of the financial inequality that affects the income of nearly 60 percent of households in America.

In 2007, household income was at a 5.4 percent decline for Whites, 7.5 percent decline for Asians, 7.2 percent decline for Hispanics, and 10 percent decline for African-Americans. In 2010, household incomes had declined for all races by 7.1 percent, but African-Americans experienced the largest financial decline among all other races, according to Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States--2010, issued September 2011.

In 2009, the national poverty rate was 14.3 percent and in 2010, the poverty rate increased to 15.3 percent, which equals about 46.2 million American citizens whose household financial income was below the national median household income, according to the United States Census Bureau, Poverty: 2009 and 2010, issued October 2011.

The average household income for all races was $49,445 in America. The average household income for Asians was $64,308, Whites were $54,620, Hispanics were $37, 759 and African-Americans were $32,068, according to the graph entitled Race and Hispanic Origin: 1967 to 2010, issued September 2011.

In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau indicated that the highest income was located in the Northeast region of the country with an average household income of about $53,283, followed by household income in the West of $53,142, the Midwest of $48,445, and in the South median household income was $45.492.

From 2007, the Midwest household incomes declined by 8.4 percent, in the West 6.7 percent and in the South 6.3 percent, while in the Northeast there was not a significant change of household incomes, according to Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010.

Stefan Rayer, a research demographer at the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida, said that the poverty rate in Florida is often higher than the national poverty rate, but lower than other states in the South.

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Median Household Income Gap at $18,000 - Black PR Wire - April 28, 2012