Floridians Are More Confident About Economy

28 02 2007

A variety of factors made Florida consumers a little more confident about the economy in February, but the declining housing market makes the overall picture uncertain.

Consumer confidence rose two points in February to 91, according to research by University of Florida economists.

The increase was attributed to relatively low gas prices, low unemployment and a strong stock market. There were gains in four of the five components in the survey. The biggest gain was in perceptions of personal finances, which rose four points. Expectations about personal finances a year from now, U.S. economic conditions over the next five years and perceptions about whether it’s a good time to buy big-ticket items rose three points each. Expectations about the U.S. economy over the next year were unchanged.

Chris McCarty, director of the survey research center at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, said the big question is how much declining real estate values will affect consumer spending, and if business investment and exports can offset any drop.

McCarty expects lower housing values to affect the rest of the economy by May or June.

“This should be more pronounced here in Florida, given the enormous gains in the value of Florida real estate,” he said. “It has much further to fall than other states.”

UF conducts the Florida Consumer Attitude survey monthly. February’s survey was based on 466 responses and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Source: Jacksonville Business Journal



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