- 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 fell two points in March to 74, repeating a trend seen last year, according to a monthly University of Florida survey.
“The pattern of Consumer Sentiment from December to February was exactly the same as last year,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “In March 2011 confidence among Floridians fell four points to 72, and then kept falling through August coinciding with a pull-back in spending among Floridians. This month the decline was only two points, but still down.”
Three of the five categories measured by the survey showed a drop of confidence among respondents. For instance, their overall assessment of the strength of the national economy over the next year declined one point to 73, while their trust in U.S. economic conditions over the next five years sank six points to 75. Perceptions over whether the present is a good time to buy big-ticket items such as automobiles or refrigerators also fell, dropping four points to 79.
Survey takers, however, were not so gloomy in how they viewed their personal financial situations. Taken as a whole, their perception that they are personally better off financially today than they were a year ago increased three points to 62, a post-recession high. In addition, their expectations that personal finances will improve a year from now increased one point to 82.
Unrest in the Middle East and the Japanese earthquake helped to tamp down Consumer Sentiment in the first quarter of last year, but rising fuel costs are fueling the current anxiety.
An unexpected outgrowth of the worst recession in 70 years: Sarasota has quietly become more cosmopolitan.
While hard times discouraged Midwesterners and New Englanders from moving here, more Peruvians, Italians, Brazilians, Ukranians and many others made the Gulf Coast home.
The foreign-born population in Manatee and Sarasota counties jumped 57 percent during the first decade of the 21st century — double the national growth.
Of course, the overall population of the two counties grew at nearly double the national rate, too. But Manatee and Sarasota looked much more like America in 2010 than they did in 2000.
At the beginning of the decade, just 8.4 percent of Manatee's population was born in another country. By the end of the decade, that grew to 12.2 percent. In Sarasota County, the number rose from 9.3 percent to 11.5 percent.
Larger metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles and Miami have long been gateways for the foreign-born. This secondary shift to more sedate locales like Sarasota is a nationwide phenomenon, says David Jacobson, a political sociologist at the University of South Florida who focuses on migration and citizenship issues.
"We are seeing a tipping point where minorities are now at least half of the population in the biggest cities," Jacobson says. "But immigration is changing smaller cities and towns as well. Hispanics and Asians in particular are moving beyond the traditional ethnic enclaves of the large metropolitan areas."
Such is the story of Southwest Florida's tiny but dynamic Bangladeshi community, which swelled from seven to 90 residents from 2000 to 2010. A migration like theirs is recession-proof, says Stefan Rayner, a research demographer for the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida.
"With international migration you generally have a large family component," Rayner notes. "They may or may not come for economic reasons, but because they want to be with family. That can add up to a significant instream, especially when the economy is not doing too well."
Recession brings diversity to Sarasota - Herald-Tribune - March 24, 2012
The gateway to downtown Tampa overlooks a 40-acre urban renewal project and a vacant plot where a light-rail and high-speed rail station would have been built if voters, and then the governor, had not turned the projects down.
The nearby Channelside retail, restaurant and entertainment complex remains mired in management difficulties, while a much-maligned streetcar that rambles alongside it provides the region's only alternative to car and bus travel.
Across the country, what catches one's eye along Interstate 5 in downtown Seattle is the Mariners' retractable-roof ballpark side-by-side with the Seahawks' football stadium. Commuter trains extend more than 25 miles north and south of downtown, and a 16-mile light-rail line serves the airport.
Preservationists rescued Pike Place Market from city demolition plans 50 years ago to transform it into a world-renowned anchor for downtown retail, tourist and conference trade that keeps sidewalks lively beyond 5 p.m.
But a major factor that differentiates the two cities is not immediately apparent: The Seattle area's $82,700 median annual income is $27,000 higher than the Tampa area's, eFannieMae.com data for 2011 show.
It's not necessary to travel 2,600 miles to find similar examples of income disparity. Tampa ranked last among a half-dozen Sun Belt business competitors — Jacksonville, Charlotte, Raleigh/Durham, Atlanta and Dallas — in the Tampa Bay Partnership's most recent economic scorecard.
A relatively low wage base, few corporate headquarters to provide major local spending sources and a political climate that quashed recent transportation initiatives affect the Tampa Bay area's quest to improve amenities and attract businesses — which in turn could raise the local wage base.
As Tampa area leaders seek improvements — better transportation, a new ballpark to keep the Tampa Bay Rays and other urban amenities — the amount of funding area residents are able, and willing, to contribute is almost certain to become an increasingly volatile — and vital — issue.
Pinellas County is considering a plan for a 24-mile light-rail system between Clearwater and St. Petersburg, with a proposed connection via a new Howard Frankland Bridge span to Tampa.
The Pinellas funding proposal would swap a sales tax increase for eliminating a property tax for transit, a new strategy that takes a lesson from the failed Hillsborough proposal.
If Pinellas takes the lead with a successful light-rail initiative in 2013 or 2014, an enhanced transit plan could be resurrected in Hillsborough County, though elected officials in particular appear to be in no hurry to raise the rail issue in Tampa so soon after the referendum defeat.
"Keep an eye on how things work out in Pinellas County," said Gary Sasso, president and chief executive officer of the Carlton Fields law firm in Tampa and head of the partnership's transportation task force. "Transportation continues to be a matter of great concern."
Sasso said public education about transportation issues is going to be a large part of moving forward. To that end, the partnership established the www.tampabayontrack.org website, a name reflecting a double entendre of rail opportunities the area lacks along with the role of transit in advancing economic development.
Intuitively, it would appear that better transportation would enhance economic development and ultimately a higher wage base, said David Denslow, a research economist for the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
The reviving Northeast Florida economy is coming up for air after the brutal recession, but one remnant of the downturn is still holding back the recovery — the high number of homeowners underwater on their mortgages.
In the Jacksonville area, about 45 percent of property owners with mortgages owe more than the homes are worth, according to CoreLogic, a California company that tracks the real estate industry.
That is double the rate for the nation. And it casts a long shadow on other positive economic trends.
Northeast Florida job growth is picking up with a 1.8 percent increase in December compared with the previous year. The stock market broke through the 13,000 mark briefly, restoring money that was lost from 401(k) accounts and other investments.
University of Florida surveys of Consumer Sentiment show people are more upbeat now than in the dark days of the recession. The monthly report released Tuesday gave a score of 76 for Consumer Sentiment in February, better than the all-time low of 59 in June 2008. During the preceding housing boom, Consumer Sentiment went as high as 96 in June 2005.
“What we’re operating in now is the new normal,” said survey director Chris McCarty. “But it’s very clear that after the recession, Consumer Sentiment has moved up.”
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Consumer Sentiment among Floridians dropped one point in February to 76 from January, according to a University of Florida survey. The modest decline followed two months of rising levels of confidence in the economy.
“The pattern of Consumer Sentiment in Florida over the last three months is exactly the same as it was a year ago,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “From December 2010 to February 2011, the overall level of confidence went from 70 to 77, then 76, the same as this year.”
The test of whether the confidence is sustained will come in March, he said. In 2011, it dropped four points. It continued to decline steadily until August as Americans reacted pessimistically to events at home and abroad.
For the moment, however, various economic indicators show why Floridians remain modestly optimistic. For example, recent stock market activity reached post-recession highs, lifting the Dow Jones industrial average over 13,000. This rise, McCarty said, tops a “psychological barrier that if passed could lead to increased investment.”
Florida’s unemployment rate in December dropped to 9.9 percent. Most of the new jobs were in trade, transportation and utilities. Home prices, which edged up to an average $134,300 in December, have stabilized since, though they are expected to decline again later in the year if the Florida Legislature approves legislation to speed up foreclosures on 368,000 properties, McCarty said.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Consumer Sentiment among Floridians surged in January, up seven points to 77 from a revised December reading of 70, marking a steady rise in optimism, according to a University of Florida survey.
Four of the five categories measured by the survey reveal increased optimism. For instance, the overall perception among survey takers that they are better off financially than they were a year ago rose four points to 60, the highest figure since March 2008 when the U.S. economy began to falter. Expectations that their personal finances will improve by this time next year also rose eight points to 86.
In addition, confidence in the nation’s economy over the next year went up dramatically by 14 points to 74. Trust in the U.S. economy over the next five years was upbeat, too, moving 10 points to 83. These figures parallel results of a University of Michigan study that show Consumer Sentiment across the nation shot up from 69.9 in December to 75 in January.
Only when it came to deciding if the present is a good time to buy big-ticket items such as an automobile or a refrigerator, did confidence among respondents sag, falling four points to 81.
“Consumer Sentiment in Florida is now back to the level it was in January 2011,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “We are beginning the year with the same pattern as last year where there were relatively steady increases in confidence from the end of the summer with a surge to 77 in January 2011. This was followed by seven months of decline with the low of 61 in August 2011 when Congress debated the debt ceiling.”
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/01/31/2617003/case-shiller-no-bottom-for-housing.html#storylink=cpy
How predictable: Housing remains the biggest question mark looming over South Florida’s economic future.As economists mapped out their forecasts for 2012, they generally see the year shaping up as another 12 months of slow recovery. Hiring should expand a little bit more than it did in 2011, consumers should continue opening their wallets, and tourism should remain a bright spot. “For the first time in a few years, I feel some rays of optimism are hitting the landscape,’’ said Raul Valdes-Fauli, president of Professional Bank, a small community bank in Coral Gables. “For the last few years, I have been very down on things.” But housing prices seem likely to remain depressed. A forecast by Moody’s calls for a 12 percent drop in South Florida real estate values during 2012, as banks push a wave of foreclosed homes onto an already depressed market. Other industry watchers see the prediction as too grim, but it does capture a consensus that foreclosed homes will be an even bigger drag on the real estate recovery than they were in 2011.
Florida’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research expects per-capita income to grow 1.5 percent statewide in 2012, thanks in part to a 3.4 percent gain in overall wages. Consumers remained resilient in 2011, and an autumn pickup in the University of Florida’s statewide confidence index is expected to continue into 2012. “Consumers, both nationally and in Florida, sort of defy logic,’’ said Chris McCarty, head of UF’s survey bureau. “They are still doing some spending.”
Fourteen of Florida's 22 markets, including Ocala, added new jobs over the past year, state figures show. Nearly half of the jobs went to three areas: Tampa-St. Petersburg added 26,900 jobs; Miami picked up 18,700; and Jacksonville increased by 8,300 jobs.
Marion County's employment gain was much more modest: a net 1,300 jobs between December 2010 and November 2011, the state records indicate. While that's just a fraction of employment growth other areas have experienced in the past year or so, local observers say the figure is about right, given the local economy's condition. Florida has added 120,000 jobs just between January and November of this year, making the Sunshine State one of America's fastest-growing employment markets.
Gov. Rick Scott, in a recent interview with the Star-Banner's Tallahassee bureau, asserted that Florida is a place where "people believe ... jobs are going to grow."
Pete Tesch, president and CEO of the Ocala-Marion County Economic Development Corp., said the jobs total was about right, keeping pace with what some Florida economists had predicted for Ocala.
"We're pretty much on track, given the economic condition. Hopefully, the bleeding has stopped," Tesch said.
Tesch said new indicators in consumer spending were hopeful. If not producing many new jobs, he noted, that should at least slow the number of layoffs.
Underscoring that point, the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research, or BEBR, reported on Tuesday that Consumer Sentiment among Floridians had risen for the fourth consecutive month, reaching its highest level since March.
And the belief among state residents that it was a good time to purchase "major household items" was the most positive since February.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Consumer Sentiment among Floridians rose three points to 69 in December, reflecting a cautious optimism in the economy, according to a recent University of Florida survey. Though the latest figure is only one point below the level set in December 2010, it also marks the highest rank in the past nine months.
The index used by UF researchers in the survey is benchmarked to 1966, which means a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence for that year. The lowest index possible is a 2; the highest is 150.
Consumer Sentiment in December shot up in four of the five indexes used by survey takers, and declined in only one. The index that reveals whether Floridians think their personal finances have improved from a year ago rose one point to 53. Another showed their overall expectations in the soundness of the U.S. economy jumped six points to 59. Confidence in the economy’s performance over the next five years also rose — this time three points to 71. Finally, the overall perception of survey takers that the present is a good time to buy “big ticket” items, such as washing machines and laptops — went up sharply by seven points to 85.
The only index to show dropping confidence was an expectation of a drop in personal finances a year from now, declining two points to 78.
Taken as a whole, the UF survey reflects a changing mood that matches growing confidence across the nation, said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. In addition, he added, there are factors in the Florida economy that were interpreted as positive by both younger and older respondents. Men were more positive than women by a margin of 71 points to 67.
“Floridians are most likely optimistic about continued improvement in the employment situation,” McCarty said. The decline in unemployment in November was .4 percent to 10 percent. The drop marked the first time in many months that economic sectors other than tourism led the way in employment increases. McCarty noted that employers in trade, transportation and utilities employed 34,800 more workers from October to November. However, he cautioned that many of these new jobs were in retail trade and may only reflect holiday seasonal hiring, which could disappear in early 2012.
McCarty also cited several other reasons for the change in mood. Retailers are offering big seasonal discounts to shoppers and mortgage interest rates are low. Housing prices may have “bottomed out” for a while, he said, hovering about around $130,100 for a single-family home. Gas prices are down, too. A gallon cost about 15 cents less than it did in November, though prices are expected to rise in 2012.
Along with the oft-pronounced, desperately wished for death of the suburbs, no demographic narrative thrills the mainstream news media more than the decline of the Sun Belt, the country’s southern rim extending from the Carolinas to California. Since the housing bubble collapse in 2007, commentators have heralded “the end of the Sun Belt boom.”
Yet this assertion is largely exaggerated, particularly since the big brass buckle in the middle of the Sun Belt, Texas, has thrived throughout the recession. California, of course, has done far worse, but its slow population growth and harsh regulatory environment align it more with the Northeast than with its sunny neighbors.
Moreover, the Sun Belt is poised for a recovery, according to the most recent economic and demographic data. Even such hard-hit states as Arizona and most impressively Arizona appear to be making an unexpected, and largely unheralded, recovery.
Take Florida. The Sunshine State may have experienced rapid population loss during 2008 and 2009, but the just-released 2011 Census estimates show a remarkable turnaround, with the state adding 119,000 domestic migrants last year. This may be less than half the gains in 2004 and 2005, when the in-migration reached nearly 250,000, but it is close to levels enjoyed a decade ago.
The big winners in terms of growth were in the South, with Texas, Florida and North Carolina as the leading in-migration states. Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia also ranked in the top 10. Overall, the Southern states reaped 95% of the inter-regional net domestic migration (people moving from one state to another). Arizona, another state widely written off, enjoyed an 11th place finish, with a net gain over 13,000.
Looking forward, some of the “bubble states” appear to be taking a lesson from Texas and are reconsidering their former growth formula, which relied far too much on tourism, retirees and housing construction. “We know the business model has to change from just tourism and retirees,” notes Chris McCarty, director of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida. “We need to make a modification in our approach and now there’s a desire to do something about it.”