- Florida Statistical Abstract Online
- Florida and the World
- Graham Center Collaboration
- Consumer Sentiment Index
- Population Studies
BEBR in the news
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.
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.
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.
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."
(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.
A radio host recently asked Gov. Rick Scott for an update on his trademark 7-7-7 plan -- creating 700,000 jobs in seven years in seven steps. (We're tracking that promise on the Scott-O-Meter.)
Scott said Florida’s economy is getting better in a lot of ways.
"We’re doing well. We’re at a three-year low on our unemployment in this state... We generated around 100,000 net jobs so far, if you look at the federal numbers," he said in the April 18, 2012, interview with Orlando-based station WDBO. "But if you look at the state numbers, about 230,000 people that were on unemployment when I took office are not on unemployment now.
"When you look around the state, tourism is up, the home market’s up, home sales are up, home prices are up. … So good things are happening, but we still have 900,000 people out of work," he said.
What stuck out to us is his claim that 230,000 fewer people receive unemployment benefits than when he took office 15 months ago. That sounds like a drastic decrease, which Scott is taking credit for and in turn using as evidence that the state’s economy is improving.
A spokeswoman with the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity, the agency that manages the unemployment compensation program, responded to our request about Scott’s claim. Spokeswoman Nancy Blum said the number of people receiving unemployment compensation dropped from 561,736 on Jan. 31, 2011, to 345,052 on March 31, 2012. That’s a total decline of 216,684.
That’s pretty close to "about 230,000," which is the number Scott offered. . . .
. . . Some experts also pointed to the contracting size of the labor force, which helps to lower the unemployment rate but also indicates some people are no longer looking for work. About 15,000 people left the labor force from February, according to the state’s March 2012 labor report.
The 15,000-person drop in the labor force was part of the reason why the unemployment rate fall from 9.4 percent in February to 9 percent in March.
"Some of those are people whose benefits ran out and are now not looking for work," said Chris McCarty, director of the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. "Some of those are retirees who have left the labor force permanently."
Gov. Scott says 230,000 fewer people receive unemployment compensation since he took office - Tampa Bay Times • Miami Herald PoltiFact Check Florida - April 27, 2012
A growing number of couples are acquiring living room furniture rather than wedding rings, as the traditional household headed by married spouses continues its retreat.
In Broward County, the number of unmarried couples living together rose by 24 percent in the past decade, from 41,638 to 51,644, new Census numbers show. They make up 7.5 percent of all households.
Meanwhile, the percentage of Broward households headed by married couples continued its decline, dropping from 46.1 percent in 2000 to 42.8 percent in 2010.
The changes across the United States are even more dramatic, according to the Census Bureau study released Wednesday. The number of households headed by unmarried partners rose 41.5 percent and now make up 6.6 percent of all households.
And for the first time in at least 70 years, U.S. households headed by married couples sank into the minority, from 51.7 percent in 2000 to 48.4 percent.
The trend toward smaller households shows up in changes as trivial as an increased demand for single-serving meals to as far-reaching as the design of our cities and suburbs.
"It means the traditional view of the typical American being married and having a couple of kids is less and less true," said Stan Smith, director of the Population Program in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida. "It was based on an unusual period that peaked in the 1950s, the Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver view of what people should be like. But if you go back to the 1800s, you didn't have that. To me it means we need to rethink what family values really means and should we define them so narrowly to be the Father Knows Best–type family."
Census: Broward has fewer marrieds, more living together - Sun-Sentinel - April 26, 2012
More on this topic:
Census: Palm Beach County has fewer marrieds, more living together - Sun-Sentinel - April 26, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Consumer Sentiment among Floridians fell two points in April to 73 from the previous month’s revised figure of 75, marking a three-month decline, according to a monthly University of Florida survey.
All five categories measured by the survey dropped. Respondents’ overall assessment that their personal finances are stronger now than they were a year ago fell three points to 59. Their expectations of being better off financially a year from now fell four points to 78.
Respondents were modestly pessimistic over the economy. Their perceptions that the nation’s economy will improve in the coming year dropped one point to 72. Meanwhile, their confidence in U.S. economic conditions over the next five years also declined, dropping two points to 77.
Finally, perceptions, especially among those over 60, that now is a good time to buy big-ticket items, such as computers and automobiles, fell one point to 78.
This latest drop in Consumer Sentiment was expected, according to Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
“While we are in many ways repeating the pattern from last year, the levels of Consumer Sentiment among Floridians are higher overall,” he said. “This time last year the index was at 68 compared with 73 this month. All five of the index components are higher than they were last year, although lower than last month.”
UF: Consumer Sentiment in Florida falls in April, marking three-month trend - University of Florida News - April 24, 2012
More on this topic:
Florida Consumer Sentiment down again - Tampa Bay Times - April 24, 2012
Consumer Sentiment in Florida drops in April - South Florida Business Journal - April 24, 2012
Consumer Sentiment in Florida dips slightly - Gainesville Sun - April 24, 2012
Consumer Sentiment down in Florida for third straight month - Jacksonville Business Journal - April 24, 2012
Consumer Sentiment falls again in Florida - Sun Sentinel - April 24, 2012
Consumer Sentiment declines slightly in Florida, nationwide - Palm Beach Post - April 24, 2012
Infographic: Florida Consumer Sentiment continues slide - the Current - April 24, 2012
FL Consumer Sentiment falls for 3rd month in a row - WWSB 7 (Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, North Port) - April 25, 2012
Economy better? State has skeptics - Herald-Tribune - April 25, 2012
Florida’s Consumer Sentiment Hinges on Jobs, Election - Sunshine State News - April 26, 2012
Consumer Sentiment Down in Florida Despite Fall in Gas Prices - The Ledger - May 18, 2012
ORLANDO -- If your pocketbook is hurting as the price of gas nears $4 a gallon in some areas, you are definitely not alone.
Myra Nadal put gas into her SUV on West Colonial Drive in Orlando Tuesday afternoon. She said the current gas prices are upsetting her. "Now I got to limit myself from going outside because of my gas prices," Nadal said. "This is ridiculous. It’s got to stop.” Nadal said her family cuts back on dining out when the gas prices start climbing. She said if she has an extra $50, she will put it towards gas, rather than spend it on eating out.
Juliana LaDino is the general manager of Zilly Bee in Downtown Orlando and said fewer people are dining out at her restaurant. She said her costs are higher for food and supplies and was shocked Tuesday to see the delivery truck surcharge fee jump $6. “Absolutely frustrated. I don’t know what to do,” LaDino said.
University of Florida Director of the Bureau of the Economic and Business Research Chris McCarty said consumers may start seeing more price increases on menus and in the supermarket if the gas prices continue to climb over the summer months, but said owners know customers are very sensitive to increases.
Optimism is slowly growing among Florida voters, but consumers in the Sunshine State tended to be a little more pessimistic in March than February, according to recent surveys by the Florida Chamber and University of Florida.
A Florida Chamber Political Institute study released Friday showed that voters were a little more supportive of the direction of the state and Gov. Rick Scott.
“While the national economy and Washington politics are causing concern with voters, this is quite an improvement from June of last year, when 60 percent said the state was headed in the wrong direction,” Marian Johnson, senior vice president of political strategy for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, stated in a release.
“The fact that likely voters rate Governor Scott more positively is an indication that they agree with his jobs agenda and that he is moving forward with exactly what he campaigned on.”
Meanwhile, UF’s Survey Research Center at the Bureau of Economic and Business Research found that concerns about the U.S. economic conditions over the next five years and uncertainty over whether now is the time to make big-ticket item purchases are causing a drag on Consumer Sentiment.
“The big drag on consumers will increasingly be gas prices, which have increased more than 15 cents a gallon in the past month,” Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center at the Bureau of Economic and Business Research, stated in a release for the survey released March 27.
“Prior to the housing market unraveling and the beginning of the past recession, there was a period of more than two years where gas prices were driving Consumer Sentiment. With increases in gas prices likely over the next few months, consumers -- particularly those with lower incomes -- will feel the impact. This will lead to lower confidence and perhaps lower spending than that associated with the higher January and February confidence results.”
Both surveys were conducted prior to the release Friday of the February unemployment numbers for Florida that listed 869,000 Floridians as jobless, a 9.4 mark that was the lowest for the Sunshine State since February 2009.
Optimism over Florida Grows with Voters, while Buying Prospects Remain Uncertain - Sunshine State News - April 3, 2012