Florida consumers feel better about economy, but high interest rates could dent optimism
Century Tower. Image via UF.

Century_Tower_(University_of_Florida)
'The positive change in consumer attitudes among Floridians in March comes as a surprise,'

Florida consumers are feeling a little better about the economy despite news of Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse, according to a University of Florida (UF) study.

But the report also warns consumer sentiment will likely remain relatively low in the future, as interest rates are expected to continue rising.

Out of a 150-point index, consumer sentiment was recorded at 69.7 in March — up 2 points from February — according to the latest survey results from the UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

The UF study surveyed 524 people online and on the phone from Feb. 1 to March 30 to measure consumers’ thoughts.

“Considering the chaos in the banking sector in mid-March, which saw the largest bank failure since the 2008 financial crisis, the positive change in consumer attitudes among Floridians in March comes as a surprise,” said Hector Sandoval, the director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF. 

“Moreover, despite some speculation that the Federal Reserve would halt rate hikes in response to the recent string of bank failures, the Fed officials decided to continue raising interest rates in their latest meeting as inflation remains high and the labor market is still tight.”

The Floridians surveyed had “mixed” results about the current economy, according to the UF survey results.

When asked about their personal finances, their sentiment improved at 60.7 on the index, up from 58.6 a year ago.

But when asked if this was a good time to purchase a major household item, consumer sentiment dipped slightly from 57.9 to 57.6, the UF survey found.

“These views were divided across sociodemographic groups with women, people younger than 60, and people with an annual income above $50,000 expressing more-favorable views,” the UF survey said.

The survey warns not to expect consumer sentiment to skyrocket anytime soon.

“The latest data clearly indicates that the labor market remains unusually tight. When combined with the persistently high inflation rate, it strongly suggests that the Federal Reserve will continue to raise interest rates in the coming months,” Sandoval said.

“Over the past 12 months, the Fed has increased interest rates more than at any time since the early 1980s. Moreover, the recent turmoil in the banking sector might have dented economic growth and increased the risk of a recession as financial institutions are likely to become more cautious in their lending. As a result, we anticipate that consumer sentiment in Florida will remain at its low levels for some time to come.”

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .


3 comments

  • Bill McSued and Fired

    April 4, 2023 at 4:30 pm

    Gonna be a hyper capitalist slave state in 20 years. Rent 10 grand a month, people working for bread only, not one house for sale for under one million dollars, prices quadruple those in other states. This is success?

  • Thank you Joe Biden!

    April 4, 2023 at 4:37 pm

    Florida, under Ron DeSantis, has seen some of the highest cost of living increases in the country in just the few short years he’s been in office. Insurance, rent, inflation, all of it. And wages in Florida have stagnated all under this Governor. We rank in the bottom third in wages.

    If it wasn’t for Joe Biden’s outstanding leadership, I don’t know how bad off we’d all be right now.

  • Dr. Franklin Waters

    April 4, 2023 at 4:41 pm

    There going to be a huge brain drain coming.
    I’ve already told my kids they should consider moving to another state after college. Florida’s future looks really dim.

    And yeah, these Conservatives will say “Good! Leave!” without understanding this means a shortage of educated people here to run healthcare, to run businesses that employ people, to run the economy. No outside company will invest and bring jobs and wealth to a place that has been systematically destroying education for year, and where all the talented people left already.

    Florida will become the new Mississippi. But at least they “Owned the Libs”.

Comments are closed.


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