UF survey: Floridians buck national trend as consumer confidence grows

Published: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 2:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 2:50 p.m.

Florida bucked national trends in April as consumer confidence rose for the second straight month, according to a University of Florida survey.

The confidence index rose three points to 79 in April, while the national confidence level as measured by the University of Michigan dropped two points.

Florida’s confidence level is benchmarked to a 1966 level of 100 to measure changes over time from a low of 2 to a high of 150.

“Many economists would have expected confidence to erode in April as the effects of the federal budget cuts known as sequestration along with the expiration of the payroll tax began to unfold,” Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research, said in a news release. “So far this has had virtually no impact on consumer confidence among Floridians, which is reflected in current sales tax collections.”

The results varied by age and income levels. Confidence for Floridians 60 and older fell three points to 72 but rose 10 points to 87 for those younger than 60.

The difference might have to do with President Obama’s willingness to negotiate on aspects of Social Security and Medicare while optimism among those younger than 60 is likely fueled by economic improvements in the state, McCarty said.

Confidence among those making $30,000 a year or less fell six points to 61 and rose four points to 85 for those earning more.

Among the five survey components, respondents’ perceptions that personal finances are better than a year ago increased five points to 70 while expectations that they will be better off a year from now rose six points to 78. Expectations that the U.S. economy will improve in a year rose three points to 80, and the expectations over five years rose one point to 77. Perceptions that now is a good time to buy big-ticket items remained at 90.

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