Consumer confidence rebounds in Florida

Consumer confidence improved across the state this month, the University of Florida reported Tuesday. The director of the survey, Chris McCarty, tied the optimism to lower gasoline prices and an improving job market.

“Lower gas prices not only help Floridians at the pump, but should result in more Florida vacations this summer,” McCarty said in a statement.

The three-point gain in UF’s confidence index comes after three months of declines. It also coincides with a growing economic crisis in Europe that analysts warn could reverse the economic rebound underway in the United States.

Investors are becoming more anxious, leading to some ugly days on Wall Street in recent weeks. Washington also is causing some nervousness as economists warn of a crisis if mandated spending cuts take effect next year as part of a debt-reduction plan. The cuts only take effect if Congress and the White House can’t work out another solution.

McCarty noted the European and Washington issues probably aren’t yet showing up in the UF survey, but could cause another reversal in confidence if the news doesn’t improve in the coming weeks and months.