Defying national trend, Floridians' confidence up
Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 5:58 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 5:58 p.m.
Florida consumer confidence rose unexpectedly in March, bucking the national trend that saw consumer's mood to spend drop sharply with the start of federal budget cuts from the sequestration process, according to University of Florida researchers.
The Florida confidence index rose three points in March from a revised 73 in February, according to the UF Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. U.S. confidence dropped six points, according to a University of Michigan study.
The Florida confidence level is benchmarked to a 1966 level of 100 and measures changes over time within a range of 2 and 150.
Other indicators show Floridians may be justified in their confidence. The unemployment rate in January dropped below the national rate for the first time since the recession, the median sales price of a single-family home is up 13 percent from a year ago, gas prices dropped 15 cents per gallon over the last three weeks and the stock market continues to reach new highs.
The upbeat mood may not last, however, as job furloughs from sequestration go into effect in the coming months, according to Chris McCarty, center director.
Four of five survey components saw increases. Respondents' perceptions that they are better off financially than a year ago rose four points to 68, the highest level since 1992. Expectations that the U.S. economy will improve over the next year rose six points to 78 while expectations for the next five years also rose six points, to 75. Perceptions that now is a good time to buy big-ticket items rose two points to 90. Expectations that personal finances will improve in a year fell two points to 72.
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.