What the data shows: Taxable sales of autos and accessories include the sale of new and used cars, repair shops, auto-supply stores and gasoline stations. The latest data is for September.
What it means: The boost in auto sales from the federal “cash for clunkers” subsidy in August on the Gulf Coast didn't carry over into September. Except for Naples, which registered the smallest percentage drop in the state, most areas of the Gulf Coast continued to report slumping auto sales on an annual percentage basis. Still, every area of the Gulf Coast posted better annual percentage numbers than the state (-12.6%). The hardest-hit area in the state was Gainesville (-24.7%).
Forecast: While consumer confidence in Florida has stabilized, job growth must return for auto sales to rebound. Nearly 100,000 jobs have been lost on the Gulf Coast from Tampa to Naples in the last year. In addition, tight credit conditions will prevent a meaningful recovery.
SEPTEMBER AUTO SALES
($ in millions)
Area Auto sales %Annual chg.
Naples $44.5 -1.5%
Fort Myers $90.2 -8.2%
Sarasota $96.6 -10.3%
Tampa $408.6 -12.1%
Punta Gorda $15.5 -12.5%
Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research