Fall trees and autumn leaves in September may mark the start of fall, but October marks the start of the economic fourth quarter and the beginning of a rise to the U.S. recovery. While the sun may shine brightly on our dampened economy, there still remains some cloudy days ahead. Matt McGrath, Coral Gables financial planner at Evensky & Katz, says that the fourth quarter is likely to get choppy as new information filters in. It is yet to be determined what the impact of Congress’ inability to extend the Bush Era tax cuts for the middle class will be, but it is estimated that it could add more than $3,000 to the average family’s tax bills next year. Some money managers are especially concerned about the effect Washington might have on Wall Street during on the fourth quarter.
On the plus side, according to the information that we do have, consumer confidence is improving and fall shoppers are spending again. According to the U.S. Census August 2012 Advance Monthly Retail Trade Report, there’s an increase of 0.9 percent from the previous month and an increase of 4.7 percent from the previous year. Retail trade sales were up 0.9 percent from July 2012 and 4.4 percent above last year. While retail sales are seeing sunny skies, full-time, good paying jobs still cast a gloomy overcast, and that is holding back improved consumer spending.
In addition, South Florida is only weeks away from the start of the holiday hiring season, and it may be better than last year’s. The local real estate recovery looks to be picking up new strength monthly, which is fueling demand for new construction projects.
According to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Miami’s critical winter tourism season will see an increase over 2011’s record tourism numbers with an expected occupancy of 74.5 percent at an average room rate of $165.51. A survey of hotel members by the GMCVB indicated that 82 percent of them anticipate the overall business outlook for the fourth quarter to be good or excellent.