Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Many Floridians Feel Recession-Like Stress

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Many Floridians Feel Recession-Like Stress

Article excerpt

THE MONEY MINDERS

Financial pressure is nothing new to Floridians, who have just weathered one of the worst financial crises in the nation's history.

But despite the economic recovery, many of them say they are still feeling financial stress, and they aren't sure if the Great Recession is really over.

A new USF-Nielsen Sunshine State Survey found that 71 percent of Florida households are experiencing some form of financial pressure, while 23 percent are not.

Those experiencing the most stress include the unemployed, households with incomes below $35,000, the unmarried and residents of Southwest Florida.

The highest level of Floridians feeling no financial stress include those over age 65, retirees, college graduates and newcomers to the state, the survey said.

Many are wary about the ability of government leaders to help them.

"What this portion of the survey shows is that Floridians are still stressed economically," said Susan McManus, professor at the University of South Florida. "They are very much still looking somewhat judgmentally, and in a negative fashion, toward state and local leadership. And they are hopeful for attention to transportation and infrastructure."

More than half of those surveyed pointed to several major threats to Florida's economy, including loss of jobs, government waste and inefficiency, and undocumented residents and workers.

Floridians are divided on how to attract new economic development, with equal numbers suggesting improving the state's infrastructure, offering tax breaks or cash payments to job creators or investing more in education and training.

They also are split on gambling. MacManus said 34 percent prefer expanding to include Nevada-style casinos, but 33 percent want to stick with the current Seminole Tribe businesses. Twenty percent want no gambling at all.

Progress on payments

Consumers continue to do a better job paying off home equity and personal loans. …

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