Florida sees sharp dive in consumer confidence in February

Florida consumer confidence plummeted in February

Last month's drop in consumer sentiment wipes out two months of optimism by Floridians.
Graph on Florida map flag with dollars illustration
Consumer confidence tanked to the lowest levels since last April.

Consumer confidence among Floridians took a dive in February, according to University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research data released Tuesday.

The consumer sentiment figure dropped 5.4 points in February to 77.2. That’s down from January’s revised figure of 82.6. The plunge comes after consumer confidence had been on the uptick in both January and December.

Random surveys by the UF researchers showed major indexes in the monthly consumer confidence fell in February.

Most Floridians’ personal financial outlooks decreased in February, dropping from 73 in January to 65.6 in February. Fewer residents of the Sunshine State felt comfortable buying big-ticket items such as household appliances and vehicles, as that sentiment figure dropped from 75.5 to 72.1.

Confidence in personal finances a year from now, confidence in U.S. economic conditions in the next year and sentiment about the U.S. economy over the next five years all took hits among Floridians surveyed.

Hector Sandoval, director of the UF Economic Analysis Program, said the February figures represent the bleakest outlook since last April when the coronavirus pandemic gripped Florida.

“Consumer sentiment in February is only nine-tenths of a point higher than April’s reading, the lowest level observed last year as a result of the economic damage brought by the pandemic. The drop in February wiped out almost all the gains since the index bottomed out in April,” Sandoval said.

While there is some hope in the coronavirus vaccine rollout, the optimism was reversed, Sandoval said.

“Overall, Floridians are pessimistic in February. The sizable drop in consumer confidence, particularly concerning future economic outlooks, signals uncertainty and a potential decline in discretionary spending in the months ahead, which can slow down the (economic) recovery,” Sandoval said.

One positive statistic came out of February’s economic outlook, though, Sandoval said, as he noted new applications for unemployment benefits fell to their lowest levels since March, 2020.

Surveyors questioned 399 Florida residents Feb.1-25 through cell phone and email questionnaires.

Drew Dixon

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at [email protected]


2 comments

  • Bill Stansky

    March 3, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    No surprise here! A direct result of Sleepy Joe’s Executive orders overturning all the good that President Trump did. And we’re just getting started. You should keep good notes and see where we are at this time next year! Then you’ll see some drastic numbers.

  • James Robert Miles

    March 3, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    You Trump lovers are not going to get away with your fake news. You made stuff up about how the economy was doing so great right after Trump got into office when in fact it was Obama who had created the booming economy. Now you want to claim that after less than one month in office, Biden has caused consumer confidence to plummet! PLEASE, you are NOT going to blame Biden for consumer confidence going south. Juist more right-wing fake news! I know that after listening to the world’s biggest liar for four years you people can’t separate fact from fiction. Get F”ing real! It has been so great not to have to listen to the rantings of an A=hole with his daily diatribes in the press and on Twitter! Now we have a REAL President who isn’t a fascist looney tune! Take your B.S. to faux news or to one of your other right-wing fake news outlets as it won’t work here. The truth will set you free and if your a religious pervert than you know what I am talking about, Trump took care of himself, his family and his rich friends and corporate buddies. He did NOTHING good for working people in the U.S.!

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