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Consumer confidence continues upward trend in December

The end-of-year measure is up about a point from November.

Consumer sentiment continued to climb in December, according to a new analysis conducted by University of Florida researchers.

The end-of-year measure hit 100.1, up a little less than a point from November’s score.

The survey’s scale is tied to consumer confidence levels of 1966. A score of 100 indicates sentiment on par with that year. Any number above 100 means consumer confidence is better than it was in 1966, whereas numbers below 100 indicate the opposite.

In December, the overall sentiment broke that threshold, as did sentiment levels in a few other segments of the survey, conducted by UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

Opinions on whether it’s a good time to buy a major household item like an appliance increased 3.2 points from 103.3 to 106.5; Expectations of personal financial situations a year from now dropped 6.4 points to 101.6; and the outlook of U.S. economic conditions over the next year increased 4.3 points from 97.4 to 101.7.

The outlook on the U.S. economy over the next five years also increased, landing at 97.8, or 4.3 points above November levels.

The only component of the BEBR survey to show a decline were consumer views on personal financial situations now compared with a year ago, which fell 2.1 points from 94.9 to 92.8.

Though overall consumer sentiment is up, and April 2019 was the high watermark for consumer confidence over the past 17 years, the 2019 average was a little below that of 2018.

“Notably, the average consumer sentiment in 2019 is one-tenth of a point lower than last year’s average. Despite this slight decline in 2019, overall, consumer sentiment among Floridians remains high,” said Hector H. Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

The outlook is positive heading into 2020, thanks in large part to a strong labor market — in November, 217,400 jobs were added statewide compared with a year ago, an increase of 2.5%.

“The year is ending with an overall positive economic outlook and high level of consumer confidence among Floridians. Looking forward, we expect consumer sentiment to remain high at the beginning of 2020,” Sandoval said.

A detailed breakdown of UF’s findings is available on the BEBR website.

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