Florida consumers are a little more pessimistic this month according to a survey released Tuesday by the University of Florida. Rising gas prices get part of the blame for the slip in consumer confidence from a January high of 77 percent to 73 percent in April.
Yet, the Governor and Florida Cabinet heard some encouraging news, car purchases from January through March are up in 2012.
“Just for this last quarter (January through March) to have 55,000 vehicles purchased with a trade in and another 8,500 or so brand new vehicles,” Julie Jones, executive director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, told the Florida Cabinet.
Big-ticket purchases like cars are vulnerable when consumer confidence wanes. And, a decrease in automobile sales means a drop in Florida sales tax revenues.
That’s why Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam was pleased to hear the new motor vehicle statistics.
“That’s the best barometer out there for hitting our sales tax projection,” Putnam said.
Jones added it also could be a sign that Florida’s economy is stabilizing.