BY DOUGLAS HANKS DHANKS@MIAMIHERALD.COM
UF’s announcement said Floridians in January were more optimistic about their finances than at any time since March 2008. The survey’s measure of Floridians’ outlook on the U.S. economy also increased “dramatically,” UF said. Overall confidence is also back to where it was at the start of 2011.
Chris McCarty, director of the survey, noted confidence has essentially wiped out all the ground lost in 2011, returning the measure back to where it was a year ago. The measure reflects ebbing fears that a second recession might be underway, but also is a reminder that confidence can be fleeting.
“The question is was this some sort of euphoric bump, or are we getting some real traction here?” McCarty asked. He noted consumer spending remains iffy, with gains in income landing in savings accounts rather than cash registers.
The news came on the same day that the Case-Shiller housing index showed South Florida real estate continues losing value. Prices were down nearly 5 percent in November compared to 12 months earlier, a dip that means a 51 percent loss in value since prices peaked in 2006.
Rebounding confidence in Florida parallel results of a University of Michigan study that show consumer confidence across the nation shot up from 69.9 in December to 75 in January. The Michigan survey focuses on personal finance and the overall economy.