- A Florida consumer sentiment and economic outlook survey found an uptick in optimism in the Sunshine State
- Nationally, consumer sentiment dropped several points, nearing an all-time low set in June
- The survey measures consumer opinions on current economic outlook and personal financial situations
Maybe Floridians are just feeling better now that Hurricane Ian has passed, or perhaps there’s something in to be read in the proverbial tea-leaves about Florida’s red wave bucking the national political trend where Republicans fizzled. But ask your average Floridian how he or she is feeling about their personal economic future, and they are generally more upbeat about it than last month. And that’s saying something, because nationally, consumer sentiment is headed in the opposite direction.
That’s the result of this month’s Consumer Sentiment Index conducted in-state by the University of Florida, which reported an overall increase to the opinions of current economic conditions and personal financial situations. Overall, the report said, consumer sentiment among Floridians increased in November to 64.7, up 1.8 points from a revised figure of 62.9 in October. That’s a sharp contrast with the national consumer sentiment index which dropped three points since last month.
The report also noted that despite October’s uptick in Florida’s unemployment rate from 2.5% to 2.7%, which UF economists said was partly due to Hurricane Ian, the labor market in Florida remains strong. “The labor force participation rate in the state reached 59.6, which is equal to the recent peak observed prior to the pandemic. Moreover, while weekly claims of jobless benefits increased due to Hurricane Ian, they have now declined to the low levels seen prior to the storm,” the report noted.
“A strong labor market should contribute to improved economic prospects and increased consumer confidence and spending,” said Hector H. Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “However, Floridians’ budgets continue to be burdened by the persistently high inflation, which has depressed their economic prospects and kept consumer confidence at historically low levels.”
Meanwhile, the falling National Consumer Sentiment Index, now at just 56.8, continues to hover near an all-time low of 50 set in June of this year. The University of Michigan conducts the national survey.
UF’s survey was conducted October 1 through November 24, and reflects the responses of 417 individuals who were reached on cellphones and 302 individuals reached through an online panel, a total of 719 individuals, representing a demographic cross section of Florida. The index used by UF researchers is benchmarked to 1966, which means a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence for that year. The lowest index possible is a 2, the highest is 150.