Consumer confidence in Florida fell in July after four months of rising optimism, according to a University of Florida survey released Tuesday.
Floridians became more pessimistic this month, with their consumer confidence sinking three points in July to 78 from a revised reading of 81, the UF survey reported.
"We were surprised by this sudden decline," said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “Consumer confidence at the national level as measured by the University of Michigan actually rose slightly in July to 85.1. This raises questions as to what is happening that led to Florida’s decline.”
However, another national consumer survey, the Conference Board’s index of sentiment, decreased this month just like the Floridians' confidence. National consumer confidence fell after the Conference Board's previous report in June was revised to reflect stronger confidence than initially estimated, the New York-based private research group said Tuesday.
In the UF survey, four of the five components measured fell this month. Overall perceptions among respondents that they now are better off financially than they were a year ago dropped three points to 66. Meanwhile, their expectations of better personal finances a year from now sank even further -- six points -- to 76.
Meanwhile, Floridians' confidence in the national economy over the coming year fell three points to 79, while their faith in the nation’s economic health over the next five years dropped seven points to 75.
Only the idea that is a good time to buy big-ticket items, such as a new car, rose four points to 96, the highest level since April 2007.
The UF consumer study surveyed 411 Floridians, representing a demographic cross-section of the state.
The index used by researchers is benchmarked to 1966, which means a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence for that year. The lowest index possible is a 2; the highest is 150.
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