Consumer Sentiment remains stagnant without future economic signals

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With no clear signs the nation is either on the road to economic recovery or showing signs of entering another recession, Florida’s Consumer Sentiment remained stagnant, inching up only one point to 67 in August, according to a new University of Florida survey.

“Consumer Sentiment is entrenched at a relatively low level,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “With the exception of a jump in April due almost entirely to the housing and appliance rebate programs, Consumer Sentiment has been stuck in the upper 60s to low 70s for the past year. We are in the economic doldrums.”

Two of the five components of the index increased, while one decreased and two remained unchanged.

Perceptions of personal finances now compared with a year ago rose four points to 52 from a record low in July, while perceptions of personal finances a year from now rose three points to 78.

“On the bright side, the oil spill has been contained and this is probably part of the reason for increased optimism about personal finances,” McCarty said. “Although the long-term effects of the spill are not yet known, there is evidence that tourists now realize that Florida beaches are for the most part unaffected.”

Remaining unchanged were perceptions of U.S. economic conditions over the next year at 61 and perceptions of U.S. economic conditions over the next five years at 70. The only component to decline was perceptions about whether it is a good time to buy big-ticket consumer items, which fell two points to 73.

“While the mix among the five components has changed, overall consumers’ attitudes reflect other economic indicators that don’t show a clear path out of recovery or back to another recession,” McCarty said.

Unemployment, the stock market and housing prices all add to the state’s economic uncertainty, he said.

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Consumer Sentiment remains stagnant without future economic signals - University of Florida News - August 31, 2010

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UF: Floridians still pessimistic about economy - South Florida Business Journal - August 31, 2010
Florida Consumer Sentiment is stagnant for August - St. Petersburg Times - August 31, 2010
August Consumer Sentiment sees slight improvement - Gainesville Sun - August 31, 2010
Consumer Sentiment ticks up in U.S., but stays flat in Florida - Sun Sentinel - September 1, 2010
Consumer Sentiment lagging as Floridians remain wary of future - Florida Times-Union - September 1, 2010