- Florida Statistical Abstract Online
- Florida and the World
- Graham Center Collaboration
- Consumer Sentiment Index
- Population Studies
BEBR in the news
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 Sentiment 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 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.
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.
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.
Just in time for people's vacations, analysts say gas prices in Florida will continue to fall this summer.
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.
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.
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.