Floridians express some concerns over their personal financial situations.
Consumer confidence remained stable among Floridians in January despite some growing concerns over their personal finances.
The University of Florida’s Consumer Sentiment Index was unchanged from December’s revised figure of 99.4, the third straight month with no movement in the overall measure.
Confidence was up by 1.3 points over the year.
Three of the five components that make up the index decreased in the report, with weaker opinions among Floridians about their current personal financial situations and economic conditions over the next 12 months. They also were less confident about buying a big ticket item now.
Florida consumers did feel better about their finances a year from now and economic conditions five years down the road.
“While responses to each component of the index were split by demographic groups, across all components those age 60 and older consistently reported less favorable views,” said Hector H. Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “These pessimistic views were particularly stronger among senior Floridians’ responses to whether now is a good time to buy a big ticket item and to anticipations about national economic conditions over the next year.”
Economists closely watch consumers’ sentiments because their spending on goods and services is the key driving force of the U.S. economy, accounting for approximately 70% of all economic growth.
Florida’s labor market continues to strengthen, with the unemployment rate in December down to a record low of 3%. The jobless rate in the Sarasota-Manatee region fell to 2.6% from the year-ago 3.2%.
“Despite the lack of movement in the index, consumer sentiment in Florida continued to be high,” Sandoval said. “Looking ahead to the coming months, we anticipate consumer sentiment to remain around the same levels. Nonetheless, consumer confidence might change its trend as disruptions to supply chains and other travel restrictions affect economic activity in China.”
Conducted Jan. 1-30, the study reflects the responses of 575 individuals who were reached on cellphones, representing a demographic cross-section of Florida. The index is benchmarked to 1966, which means a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence for that year. The lowest index possible is a 2, the highest is 150.