Florida consumer sentiment dips for first time in half a year
UF researchers say survey shows Sunshine State consumers are warming to economy. Stock image via Adobe.

consumer sentiment money funding
Many Floridians say they felt more confident about their personal finances a year ago.

After nearly a half year of increased consumer sentiment in Florida, March figures showed a slight decrease in economic confidence, according to a report released by the University of Florida (UF) Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

The consumer sentiment figure in the Sunshine State, which measures the general feeling of consumers toward the economy, fell by 2.1 points from February’s figure of 74.1 to March, settling at 72. The Florida figure also cuts against the national consumer sentiment, which increased by 2.5 points in March.

“The drop in consumer sentiment was largely driven by Floridians’ views on their personal financial situation a year from now, which plummeted sharply in March,” said Hector Sandoval, Director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

“While we anticipated a slight increase in consumer sentiment rather than a reversal, the decline suggests that Floridians may be growing more concerned about future economic conditions,” Sandoval said.

The economic skepticism by Floridians was underscored by their feeling that their personal finances are worse off than a year ago, the report stated. That scale fell from 60.6 points in February to 59.8 points in March.

The survey also showed that Floridians are more hesitant about buying bigger retail items, such as appliances, with that rating dropping from 63.9 points in February to 62.9 points in March. The study indicated that younger consumers were more confident on that end, with Floridians under 60 years old more likely to purchase an appliance.

While the negative indicators highlighted in the March consumer sentiment index in Florida represent a reversal in trend for the first time in a half year, Sandoval cautioned that those numbers are outliers for what otherwise has been an upward trajectory.

“Looking ahead, though the downturn spans only a single month, it is worth watching as changes in sentiment could influence consumer spending patterns and overall economic activity in the months to come,” Sandoval said.

UF researchers compiled the March Consumer Sentiment Index after conducting surveys with 727 Floridians between Feb. 1 and March 29 using cellphone and online 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].

One comment

  • Impeach Biden

    April 2, 2024 at 1:20 pm

    It’s Bidenomics at work.

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