How will glum news affect Floridians’ buying (and the economy)?

The recent news isn’t good with the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reporting  the U.S. economy had slowed down from April to June. Nationwide, consumers closed their purses which prompted the American economy to barely grow 1.5 percent during the second quarter.

Floridians will get a signal Tuesday about how others in the Sunshine State are reacting when the University of Florida releases its monthly Consumer Confidence Index.

Greg McBride, the senior financial analyst at Palm Beach Gardens-based, warns Floridians to brace themselves for another poor index report.

“We’ve had a run of disappointing economic data in the last six weeks,” he said. “That coupled with stagnant incomes is having a toil.”

Last month, Floridians’ consumer confidence sank amid new worries that the economy was slowing or even stalling, according to the UF survey.

A prolonged drop in confidence could affect the state’s efforts to dig itself out of hard economic times brought on by the housing bust and Great Recession. Some 70 percent of the economy relies on people spending. reported last Wednesday that Americans’ financial security experienced its biggest drop in 11 months, according to its July Financial Security Index.

Americans were feeling less secure about their jobs, savings, debt, net worth and overall financial situation — although jobs was the least of their worries.

“Interestingly, despite another poor jobs report in early July, feelings of job security were the least affected and remain the component of financial security that Americans feel is most improved relative to one year ago,” McBride said. “Just 19 percent of Americans feel less job security than one year ago.”

What worries Americans more is their personal financial situation.

More than a quarter of those surveyed  declared their overall financial situation worse than a year ago, according to the poll. Just  23 percent felt it was better.

And almost four out of 10 surveyed said they were less comfortable with their savings compared to last year at this time, while only 16 percent feel better.

“It’s difficult to make headway on savings and paying down debt when the paycheck doesn’t go far,” McBride said. “Household incomes aren’t keeping up with modest inflation.”

Florida and the entire country might be going through another economic slowdown “just like we have had in the last two years,” he added.

Florida and the entire country might be going through another economic slowdown “just like we have had in the last two years,” he added.

Still, the PNC Financial Services Group in Orlando predicts U.S. economic growth will pick up from now until the end of the year and add more jobs.

“Growth will be around 2.3 percent in the second half of 2012, close to trend, as consumer spending and business investment will continue to increase moderately and the housing market recovery picks up,” according to a PNC Financial Services written statement. “However, the problems in Europe, government spending cuts, and uncertainty over federal fiscal policy will remain drags.”

But more U.S. jobs will be added and the unemployment rate will slightly decline by the end of the year, said the financial services group.

Donna Gehrke-White

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