What the data shows: Taxable sales of consumer durables include appliances, furniture, home electronics, aircraft, boats, hardware and home decorations. The November data is the latest available.
What it means: Naples was the last area of the Gulf Coast region to feel the effects of the economic downturn and that's reflected in the steepest year-over-year decline in consumer durable taxable sales in November. Naples' drop was the largest of any area in the state on an annual percentage-change basis. Statewide, the annual decline in durable sales was -6%. By contrast, Sarasota posted the largest annual percentage increase in taxable sales of consumer durables in the state in November.
Forecast: Sarasota's annual percentage increase in taxable sales of consumer durables in November may be an indication that consumers are once again willing to spend on big-ticket items. That was reinforced by a University of Florida consumer-sentiment survey in January that showed a marked increase in consumer confidence, especially for spending on big-ticket items. The outlook favors a stabilization of consumer spending, though different areas of the Gulf Coast are unlikely to experience significant and prolonged growth until population increases resume and the unemployment rates begin to fall.