Consumer Payment Card News

Florida Consumer Confidence High Despite Bugs

Florida Consumer Sentiment

Florida consumer confidence reached a 17 year high in April, despite a busy hurricane season forecast starting June 1st. The nation’s most southern state is also currently dealing with blue algae resurfacing, impending red tide, rising shark bites and now a menacing love bug invasion.

Consumer sentiment in Florida increased 1.4 points in April to 102 from a revised figure of 100.6 in March. Such levels of confidence have not been observed since March 2002 when consumer sentiment reached 102 points.

According to the latest University of Florida Consumer Sentiment Index Floridians’ opinions about current economic conditions were mixed. Views of personal finances now compared with a year ago increased eight-tenths of a point, from 96.7 to 97.5. Conversely, opinions as to whether now is a good time to buy a big ticket item such as an appliance decreased 1.2 points, from 107.5 to 106.3. Women tended to be more pessimistic about the economy.

Florida Expectations

Expectations of personal financial situations a year from now rose 3.2 points, from 106.8 to 110, the highest level for this component since May 1999 when it reached 110 points.

Expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next year increased 2.3 points, from 97.6 to 99.9. Similarly, expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next five years increased 2.4 points, from 94.2 to 96.6.

Additionally, personal income in Florida increased 5.2% in 2018, compared with 4.5% for the nation, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

National Expectations

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in April after ticking down in March. Consumers’ stating business conditions are “good” increased from 34.7% to 37.3%, while those saying business conditions are “bad” decreased from 12.4% to 11.7%. Consumers’ stating jobs are “plentiful” increased from 42.5% to 46.8%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased from 13.8% to 13.3%.

Consumers’ short-term outlook also improved in April. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will be better six months from now increased from 17.2% to 19.9%. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 16.8% to 17.2%, while those anticipating fewer jobs decreased from 14.3% to 13.2%.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index improved modestly in March, increasing 0.1 points to 101. The Uncertainty Index dropped six points to 79, returning to a more normal level for recent years. The April NFIB report is due out next week.

Love Bugs

The love bug is a species of march fly found in Florida, especially along the Gulf Coast. It is also known as the honeymoon fly or double-headed bug. During and after mating, adult pairs remain coupled, even in flight, for up to several days.

Lovebugs live just three or four days, packing plenty of annoyance into short lifespans. They madden motorists as they splatter their guts on windshields and hoods.