Good buying conditions boost Florida’s Consumer Sentiment this month
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Shoppers rushing to take advantage of home and appliance rebates caused Florida’s Consumer Sentiment to spike in April by six points to 77 despite the state’s record unemployment, according to a new University of Florida survey.
The last time Consumer Sentiment was at or above 77 in the Sunshine State was in October 2007 when it was 79, the same month the Dow Jones Industrial Average peaked at 14,168, said Chris McCarty, survey director of UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
“Florida’s consumers have been full of surprises the past several months,” McCarty said. “Much like the reading for January, this rise in confidence was completely unexpected. Last month Florida broke its all time record for unemployment at 12.3 percent. Yet Floridians are far more optimistic this month than last.”
Much of the increase is fueled by a dramatic rise in perceptions of buying conditions, McCarty said. The biggest jump among the index components was that measuring perceptions of whether it is a good time to buy big-ticket consumer items. It rose 14 points to 87.
“We believe this is a combined effect from the appliance rebate, which pumped $17.5 million into the Florida economy in a matter of days, as well as the tax rebate for both first-time homebuyers and those who have been in a home for the past five years,” he said. “These rebates are set up to run out at the end of this month and many consumers are rushing to buy homes to qualify for the rebate.”
Both rebates’ effects can be seen in higher sales revenues and higher sales of new and existing homes, McCarty said. Sales tax revenues going into the state’s General Fund were about 1.1 percent over estimates for February, with March sales likely to show a similar trend, he said.
“The big question is what happens when the rebates run out in May and the stimulus dollars are spent,” he said.
Florida Consumer Sentiment makes an unexpected jump - St. Petersburg Times - April 27, 2010
Fla., U.S. Consumer Sentiment on the rise - Tampa Bay Business Journal - April 27, 2010
Consumer Sentiment rises across the nation, Florida - Palm Beach Post - April 27, 2010
Florida's economy slowly recovering, report says - Miami Herald - April 28, 2010
Florida consumers more confident - Gainesville Sun - April 28, 2010
Rise in Florida's Consumer Sentiment - WRUF AM850 - April 28, 2010
Local consumers remain skittish - Panama City News Herald - April 28, 2010
Consumer Sentiment spikes unexpectedly - Highlands Today - May 2, 2010