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Business Observer Friday, Mar. 29, 2019 4 months ago

Report: Floridians feel good about national economy

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The UF Survey Research Center’s latest Consumer Sentiment report reveals a big boost in consumer sentiment.

Florida consumers are feeling good — as good as they have felt in at least 13 months.

That’s the word from the University of Florida UF Survey Research Center’s latest Consumer Sentiment report. The index increased 2.8 points in February to 100.9, up from a revised figure of 98.1 in January, the report shows. It’s the first score over 100 since it was 100.6 last July and the highest since it was 101.3 in January 2018, the report adds.

The big boost in consumer sentiment stems from a positive economic outlook on the entire nation. On that front, expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next year rose 7.9 points, from 93.5 in January 2019 to 101.4. Expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next five years increased 6.7 points, from 94 to 100.7, according to the report.

“Overall, Floridians are more optimistic,” says Hector Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, in the report. “Importantly, these outlooks are shared by all Floridians regardless of their gender, age or socioeconomic status.”

Closer to home, Floridians’ opinions of their personal financial situation now compared with a year ago increased 1.3 points, from 93.8 in January 2019 to 95.1. (The report notes opinions on this question varied greatly by gender and income levels, with male respondents and people with income levels under $50,000 reporting less-favorable opinions.)

One other nugget from the report is while the economic outlook is rosy, people aren’t rushing to big-box stores to buy a washing machine or a refrigerator. That data point, whether it’s is a good time to buy a major household item like an appliance, decreased 1.1 points, from 100.2 to 99.1. The survey adds men reported less-favorable opinions on that question compared to women — with no further analysis.

 

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