Florida Consumer Confidence Up in July
GAINESVILLE (Fla. News Network) -- Consumer confidence among Floridians rose two points in July to 84, hitting another post-recession high for a second consecutive month, according to a new University of Florida survey.
Economists at the university said the last time Florida consumers were this confident was April 2007, prior to the recession, when the housing market was beginning to unravel.
The Consumer Sentiment Index peaked at 98 in January 2004.
Two of the five components used in the survey showed an uptick in confidence in the national economy since June.
Survey-takers' trust in the performance of the national economy over the next year rose four points to 84, while their expectations for the country's economic health over the next five years went up seven points to 85.
Consumers also remain optimistic about whether this is a good time to buy major household items, such as a refrigerator, maintaining a post-recession high of 94 since last month.
Respondents, however, were slightly pessimistic about their own personal finances.
Their perception of being better off financially now than a year ago fell two points to 74 after reaching a post-recession high of 76 in June.
Expectations of enjoying improved finances a year from now fell one point to 82.
Floridians' increasing optimism is happening despite mixed economic signals, according to UF economist Chris McCarty.
For example, although the state's employment situation continues to improve, with the unemployment level declining one-tenth of a percent to 6.2 in July, some question the quality of the new jobs, particularly in the service sector.
Record-high stock market prices in June were good news for both the employed population and retirees with equity investments.
In addition, gas prices in Florida have fallen since June and have been headed down since April.