Florida consumer sentiment has risen in March, the latest figures show.
It increased by 0.2 to 100.8 from February’s revised figure of 100.6. That is according to the Florida Consumer Attitude Survey. National consumer sentiment also increased in March.
Fve components make up the index conducted by the Bureau’s UF Survey Research Center. Two increased and three decreased.
Florida consumer sentiment has risen
Floridians’ opinions of their personal financial situation now compared with a year ago increased 4.2 points from 93 to 97.2.
Overall perceptions as to whether now is a good time to buy a major household item like an appliance increased. It rose 4.9 points from 102.9 to 107.8, the greatest increase of any reading this month. Importantly, all Floridians share this view.
Hector H. Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, says, “Overall, these two components showed that perceptions regarding current economic conditions improved significantly among Floridians in March.”
Floridians’ expectations about future economic conditions are less rosy. Anticipations of personal financial situations a year from now decreased slightly seven-tenths of a point from 107.5 to 106.8.
Similarly, expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next year decreased 1.9 points from 99.5 to 97.6.
Finally, expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next five years showed the greatest decline. It fell 6.1 points from 100.4 to 94.3.
Those with income under $50,000 report more favorable opinions about both the U.S. Economic situation and their own personal financial situation over the next year.
Mr Sandoval says, “This month’s reading is the second highest since March 2002; however, the future economic conditions component of the index showed important signs of deterioration. Most of the pessimism in March came from the negative expectations about long-run economic conditions in the U.S., particularly by those with income of $50,000 and over reporting less-favorable opinions.”
Florida’s economy expanding
Florida’s economy continued to expand, adding more jobs in February. Compared with a year ago, the number of jobs increased by 211,900 in February. Among all industries, professional and business services gained the most jobs, followed by education and health services and also trade, transportation and utilities.
“Overall, consumer sentiment remained high in Florida; however, the decline in Floridians’ expectations about future economic conditions coupled with the increase in the unemployment rate might predict an end to the current economic Bureau of Economic and Business Research, University of Florida.
“The evolution of these economic indicators in the following months will be key in assessing the economic outlook of the short and medium-run,” Mr Sandoval says.
The study was conducted from 1-28 March. It reflects the responses of 546 individuals reached on cellphones. They represent a demographic cross section of Florida. The index used by UF researchers is benchmarked to 1966. This 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.