Aug. confidence improves slightly
Published: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 12:23 a.m.
Florida and U.S. consumers felt slightly more optimistic in August, but confidence has been mired at relatively low levels for the past year over concerns about jobs, home values and the stock market, according to separate indexes released Tuesday.
Florida consumer confidence was up one point to 67 on improved perceptions of personal finances, according to a University of Florida survey.
High unemployment, stock market fluctuations -- mostly downward -- and surprising drops in home sales have “rekindled fears of a double-dip recession,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research, in a news release.
Perceptions of personal finances now compared to a year ago were up four points to 52 after July’s record low, while perceptions of personal finances a year from now rose three points to 78.
Perceptions of U.S. economic conditions over the next year and over the next five years remained unchanged. The only component of the survey to decline was perceptions of whether it is a good time to buy big-ticket items, down two points to 73.
The Conference Board’s U.S. consumer confidence rose to 53.5 from a revised 51.0 in July after two months of declines, The Associated Press reported.
A level of 90 or more -- which hasn’t been reached since December 2007 -- indicates a healthy economy.
The Florida index is benchmarked to a 1966 level of 100 and the U.S. index to a 1985 level of 100, and do not reflect comparable levels of confidence.
U.S. consumers’ outlook for the next six months rose to 72.5 from 67.5, but the measure of how consumers feel now about the economy was down to 24.9 from 26.4.