University of Florida Survey Indicates Sharp Increase in Consumer Sentiment Statewide

home in estero

Consumer sentiment among Florida residents increased in March to the highest level in 15 years, according to the most recent University of Florida (UF) consumer survey.

University of Florida’s most recent consumer survey results indicate a consumer sentiment reading of 99, the highest rate since March 2002 and the second-highest rate since November 2000. The lowest index possible is a 2, while the highest possible is 150. All components that the index is based on showed an increase.

The current outlook that Floridians have regarding their financial situation increased from 88.1 to 88.5. The perception of Floridians regarding whether it is a good time to buy a major household item such as an appliance increased from 99.7 to 103.5. Hector H. Sandoval, Director of the Economic Analysis Program at University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research says, “The increase in these two components shows that current economic conditions improved among Floridians in March.” “In particular, women and those under age 60 displayed more optimistic perceptions.”

The rating measuring what Floridians expect regarding the standing of their personal finances a year from now increased from 99.5 to 107.3 and participants’ viewpoints regarding the economic conditions of the United States over the next year increased from 92.0 to 99.2. Participant viewpoints of the United States economic conditions over the next five years also increased from 89.5 to 96.7.

“Overall, Floridians are far more optimistic in March than the previous month. The gain in March’s index came mainly from consumers’ future expectations about the economy. Importantly, these views are shared by all Floridians, independent of their demographic characteristics and socioeconomic status,” says Sandoval. “These expectations are particularly strong among women and those with an income under $50,000.”

Encouraging economic news has likely boosted consumer sentiment in Florida. The labor market statewide continues to expand, with more jobs added on a monthly basis for over six years. The unemployment rate in Florida remained at five percent in February. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Florida ranked third out of all states in the nation as far as personal income growth, with a rate of growth of 4.9 percent in personal income from 2015 to 2016.