Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How Confident Are Floridians In Economy?

Interest Increased In Car And Appliance Purchases

The most recent survey by the folks at the University of Florida show more interest in big ticket purchases like cars and major appliances. Seniors are claimed to have improved confidence in future economic conditions. 

Increased optimism about making major purchases played a significant role in consumer confidence rising two points in July to 68, according to a new University of Florida survey.

Four of the five components that make up the index increased or remained unchanged. The biggest improvement was in confidence to purchase big-ticket items such as cars and appliances which rose five points to 77.

"Some of this may have to do with declines in gas prices during the month of June and much of July," said Chris McCarty, director of UF's Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. "This leaves more money in people's budgets for other purchases."

The other index components that rose were perceptions of personal finances now compared with a year ago, which increased three points to 57, and expectations of personal finances a year from now, which climbed one point to 75. Expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next five years remained at 72. The only component to decline was perceptions of U.S. economic conditions over the next year, which fell one point to 59.

McCarty said another reason for the increase was improved confidence among seniors, which rose five points to 66. Last month's overall decline, McCarty said, was due in large part to seniors' uncertainty over potential cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Although the federal government has not yet released its budget plans, the delay in reducing those programs may have led to a slight improvement. 

McCarty also said seniors may have learned that proposed entitlement cuts might not affect those in or near retirement as much as previously thought.

Whether the increasing "confidence" by Floridians will lead to more purchasing is still up in the air.

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