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Florida consumer confidence down for third straight month amid mixed economic news

Florida’s consumer sentiment is trending negatively for the third straight month, according to a University of Florida survey.

Consumers’ confidence in the wellbeing of the state economy dropped to 89, one point down from May’s report and tied with September 2015 for the lowest reading in the last year and a half.

Overall economic news was mixed, according to the survey, with three metrics decreasing and two improving.

Perceptions of one’s personal financial situation now compared with a year ago showed the sharpest drop, falling 3.5 points from 85.5 to 82. This decline was shared by all Floridians except those with income above $50,000, whose reading rose 4.3 points. In contrast, those with annual incomes under $50,000 dropped 7.4 points from last month, according to the report.

“The trend of these two components together over the past three months indicates that perceptions of current economic conditions have deteriorated among Floridians, but this pessimistic sentiment started a month earlier for those with annual incomes under $50,000,” said Hector Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

Florida’s jobless numbers were slightly down again in May, dropping 0.1 percent to 4.7 percent. The number of jobs added in May statewide was 253,900, a 3.2 percent increase compared with last year, the report found. Florida’s economy is definitively growing, with more jobs added every month for 70 consecutive months.

Christopher McCarty, director of UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, said despite that, the mixed news is worth keeping an eye on in terms of politics and economics.

“While the decline in the sentiment index was marginal, it’s worth noting that this is the third straight month of declines,” said McCarty. “The national and international context may contribute to further declines over the next few months. As the campaigns for U.S. president get in full swing, it’s not unusual to see drops in sentiment as consumers hear negative economic opinions and anticipate what each candidate might do.”

Written By

Ryan Ray covers politics and public policy in North Florida and across the state. He has also worked as a legislative researcher and political campaign staffer. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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