From The Miami Herald's Doug Hanks:
Consumer confidence in Florida plunged this month amid Wall Street turmoil, drama over the U.S. debt and general fears that an economic recovery was giving way to retreat. The head of the monthly survey by the University of Florida says the numbers suggest a recession has either already begun in Florida or is near.
“If past history of this index is any indication, we are in, or at least very near, a recession. We are not likely to know for certain until after the fourth quarter,” said Chris McCarty, director of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at UF, which conducts the survey.
Last month’s preliminary reading of the index stood at 68. This month, it dropped to 62. A press release announcing the results this morning did not say whether July’s reading was revised. The survey’s record low of 59 was set in June 2008, about six months into the national recession that officially ended in the summer of 2009.