State consumer confidence hits new post-recession high
Published: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 12:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 12:17 p.m.
Floridians continue to feel better about spending as consumer confidence rose for the fourth straight month in June to another post-recession high, according to a University of Florida survey.
The confidence index rose one point from May to 82 in June as consumers showed more optimism in response to a record high stock market early in the month and an improving unemployment rate and rising home prices in Florida in May.
The index is benchmarked to a 1966 level of 100 to measure changes over time within a range of 2 to 150.
The confidence level for June could be revised downward as interviews continue following a drop in the stock market, Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research, said in a news release.
Respondents’ perceptions that they are better off financially than a year ago rose three points to 70, while their outlook on whether personal finances will improve a year from now remained at 82. Perceptions that now is a good time to buy big-ticket items rose two points to 93, the highest level since April 2007.
The outlook that U.S. economic conditions will improve over the coming year rose two points to 83, and the outlook for the next five years rose one point to 83.
Consumers still have not registered fears about the effects of sequestration, McCarty said. They have shown more concern that interest rates might rise since the Federal Reserve has said it might reduce the amount of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities it has been purchasing each month to spur the economy, he said.
Those concerns are likely overstated, McCarty said, because the Fed gradually would reduce the purchases and could resume if the economy shows signs of weakness. The housing market is also on more solid footing than it was when the purchases began in 2008, he said.