Consumer confidence remains nearly flat in Florida


Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 1:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 1:17 p.m.

Consumer confidence in Florida dropped to 75 in January from a revised 76 in December.

It has remained largely flat since the November election because of an improving economy and Congress postponing fiscal cliff negotiations, according to Chris McCarty, director of the University of Florida Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

The survey is benchmarked to a 1966 level of 100 and measures changes over time within a range of 2 and 150.

Confidence levels dropped 7 points for more affluent households but rose 5 points for those making less than $30,000 a year. That may be the result of Congress raising taxes on incomes of more than $400,000 and repealing the payroll tax cut that upped withholding from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent.

The index may decline in February as consumers begin to notice the pre-stimulus payroll tax levels, McCarty said in a news release.

Confidence among seniors rose three points as Congress has not yet made changes to Social Security and Medicare, he said.

Perceptions that consumers are better off financially than a year ago dropped 3 points to 59 while expectations that personal finances will improve in a year rose 1 point to 77. Expectations for the U.S. economy over the next year remained at 76, and the outlook over five years dropped two points to 76. Perceptions of whether now is a good time to buy big-ticket items rose 1 point to 87.

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