Florida consumer confidence tilts toward record low

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 25, 2011 4:59 PM
Florida consumer confidence tilts toward record low

MIAMI (Reuters) - Consumer confidence in Florida, an epicenter of America's housing bust with unusually high unemployment, fell in October and neared historic lows last seen in 2008's credit crunch, survey takers said on Tuesday.

The reading for this month of 63, on a scale that reaches to 150, was a point lower than September, according to the University of Florida survey. The report showed few hints of an imminent turnaround in consumer attitudes, according to Chris McCarty, director of the university's Survey Research Center.

"There have been no consistent economic developments over the past couple of months to push confidence lower or raise it from its historically low levels," McCarty said.

The lowest reading for the UF survey was 59, recorded in June 2008.

Unlike September, when four of five indicators in the survey of 403 Floridians ticked up, only two did so in October, according to a news release.

An overall view that personal finances were better than a year earlier rose five points to 54, and expectations the economy will be better a year from now increased two points to 55.

But perceptions that personal finances will improve in a year fell two points to 72, according to the survey. Expectations the economy will strengthen through 2016 dropped one point to 67, and a gauge of whether now is a good time to buy automobiles and other big-ticket items sank by four to 70.

Separately on Tuesday, the Conference Board said its index of consumer attitudes throughout the United States had fallen in October to its lowest level since March 2009 as consumers fretted about job and income prospects.

(Reporting by Michael Connor in Miami; Editing by Andrew Hay)