UF Survey: Consumer confidence at two-year low

300-TARGET-SHOPPINGAs October comes to a close and merchants are eager for brisk holiday sales, news received by Historic City News this morning from a University of Florida survey, gives little reason to celebrate. The survey says Florida’s overall consumer confidence fell to a two-year low of 71 points in October.

“All five indexed components that comprise the survey fell from September numbers,” UF Survey director, Chris McCarty, told reporters. “Consumer confidence might go up slightly in November, but will not reach the post-recession highs recorded in May and June.”

An important indicator of consumer confidence, especially during the holidays, are the perceptions held about whether now is a good time to buy big-ticket items. In October, that measure fell to 80 — an 11 point drop.

Expectations of personal finances a year from now fell six points to 74, while perceptions of personal finances compared to a year ago fell three points to 62. The one year outlook on the US economy fell eight points to 68, and the five-year outlook fell two points, landing on 73.

Respondents over 60-years-old, the group showing the largest drop, are still unsettled by the federal government shutdown. Since shutdown and debt ceiling talks were postponed, confidence among seniors will likely stay low, according to McCarty.

Other factors contributing to the decline included a drop in home prices and underwhelming employment numbers.

While September jobs numbers are not yet available on the state level, McCarty said the national numbers hint that Florida will see a “disproportionate hit” in leisure and hospitality employment.

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