Floridians feel financial squeeze despite national economic upswing

by | Oct 31, 2023

  • Consumer sentiment in Florida decreased for the second month in a row, with October’s index at 66.2 despite the U.S. economy’s strong performance in the third quarter of 2023.
  • Floridians, with the exception of those earning over $50,000 annually, hold a more pessimistic view of their current financial situation compared to a year ago, with the sentiment metric dropping 2.3 points.
  • While overall sentiment about making significant household purchases remained steady at 56.2, there was a division based on gender, age, and income, suggesting Floridians might be cautious in their future spending.

Consumer sentiment in Florida has dipped for the second consecutive month, marking a continued trend of pessimism despite a national economy that is outpacing expectations, according to recent data.

The report, released by the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research on Tuesday, showed that the consumer sentiment index edged down to 66.2 in October, a slight decrease from 66.3 in September.

“Inflation has fallen over the past year, the labor market has shown surprising resilience, and continued economic growth has consistently outperformed expectations. In fact, the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 4.9 percent in the third quarter of 2023, driven by increased consumer spending and inventory investment,” said Hector H. Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF, “Yet, consumer sentiment among Floridians has remained persistently low, making 2023 poised to be the third-lowest year in terms of consumer sentiment since records have been available.”

The dataset further detailed Floridians’ more downbeat views on their current economic circumstances, with a notable decline in the way residents perceived their financial situation now compared to a year ago, with the sentiment dropping 2.3 points. This perspective was largely shared across all demographic segments, with the sole exception of individuals earning an annual income above $50,000.

However, not all views were negative. When questioned about the appropriateness of the current climate for making significant household purchases, such as appliances, the sentiment held steady at 56.2. Still, the metric showcased a demographic divide; Men, individuals under the age of 60, and those with an annual income below $50,000 exhibited less favorable views on the matter.

“Pessimism among Floridians regarding their current financial situation compared with a year ago and their expectations about the national economy over the next year indicates that they may be more cautious in their spending habits in the months ahead,” continued Sandoval. “However, the continued resilience in the labor market and consumer spending provides a positive signal for retailers as they approach the holiday shopping season.”


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