Consumer sentiment on the upswing for 5 straight months in Florida
Consumer sentiment increased for the fifth straight month in February.

Graph on Florida map flag with dollars illustration
The outlook over the national economic picture remains pessimistic, though.

Consumer sentiment increased for fifth straight month in February, according to University of Florida economic researchers.

The consumer confidence figure came in at 74.1 for February, an increase of 1.5 points over the January number of 72.6. That increase means the sentiment among Sunshine State consumers is getting more positive and it’s been heading that way for most of the past half year.

“The last time consumer sentiment increased for five consecutive months was before the pandemic, in early 2019. During that period, inflation was under control, interest rates were less than half of today’s rates, and consumer sentiment stood strong at over 100 points, albeit with a slightly higher state unemployment rate than the current one,” said Hector Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

Sandoval added that while the consumer sentiment figure in Florida is still not above pre-pandemic numbers, it’s a far cry from the low point of 60.8 in May, 2022.

A key metric in the analysis is the feeling Floridians have about their personal finances getting better in the next year. The number is now 88.4, up 3 points from January, so personal economic optimism is gaining momentum for the time being.

Meanwhile, optimism for economic conditions improving in the next five years also saw an uptick in outlook. That figure increased 81.5 in January to 82.1 in February, among Floridians.

The outlook over the national economic picture remains pessimistic, though.  Expectations over the national economy fell to 75.6 in February, down from January’s figure of 76.7.

Still, generally speaking, the economic outlook among Floridians is becoming upbeat and Sandoval said that should translate into increased spending.

“This heightened optimism not only forecasts a potential increase in consumer spending, thus supporting business growth, but could also lead Floridians to undertake long-term financial commitments, such as investing in real estate. However, with interest rates staying at historically high levels, the potential positive impacts of increased consumer confidence may be somewhat muted,” said Sandoval.

The consumer sentiment figures are established after phone and online surveys conducted by UF. The most recent data was compiled after surveys from Feb. 1 through Feb. 22 with 765 Floridians taking part in the 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].


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