The December sentiment index rose to 100.1 from November's 99.4. Many respondents were optimistic about U.S. conditions now and in the future, but a bit less so about their own.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – As Florida’s unemployment rate reached a historic low, consumer sentiment among Floridians increased in December by seven-tenths of a point to 100.1 from November’s revised figure of 99.4. Similarly, consumer sentiment at the national level increased in December.
Among the five components that make up the index, three increased and two decreased.
Floridians’ opinions about current economic conditions were mixed. Views of personal financial situations now compared with a year ago decreased 2.1 points from 94.9 to 92.8 – but these views are divided across socio-demographic groups. Men, people younger than 60, and people with annual income under $50,000 expressed less favorable views while women, people 60 and older, and people with annual income of $50,000 or more expressed favorable views.
Opinions as to whether this is a good time to buy a major household item like an appliance increased 3.2 points from 103.3 to 106.5. This upward trend was shared by all Floridians with the exception of those with income levels above $50,000.
The three components representing future economic conditions were also mixed.
Expectations of personal financial situations a year from now dropped 6.4 points, from 108 to 101.6 a pessimistic view shared by all Floridians.
However, the outlook for U.S. economic conditions over the next year increased 4.3 points from 97.4 to 101.7; and expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next five years increased 4.6 points from 93.2 to 97.8.
Florida began 2019 with high levels of consumer confidence, and April 2019 had the highest level in the last 17 years, contributing to an average of 98.9 in the first half of the year. In August, consumer sentiment dropped significantly due to the ongoing trade war with China, and the average consumer sentiment reading fell to 97.6 in the second half of 2019.
“Notably, the average consumer sentiment in 2019 is one-tenth of a point lower than last year’s average. Despite this slight decline in 2019, overall, consumer sentiment among Floridians remains high,” says Hector H. Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
As 2019 ends, economic indicators in Florida have remained very favorable throughout 2019, and the prospects for 2020 are encouraging as Florida’s labor market continued to strengthen in the final months of the year. In November, 217,400 jobs were added statewide compared with a year ago, an increase of 2.5%.
Among all industries, education and health services gained the most jobs, followed by leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services. The only industry losing jobs over the year was information. The unemployment rate reached its historic low of 3.1% in November, down one-tenth of a percentage point from October’s rate.
“The year is ending with an overall positive economic outlook and high level of consumer confidence among Floridians. Looking forward, we expect consumer sentiment to remain high at the beginning of 2020,” Sandoval says.
Conducted Dec. 1-26, the UF study reflects the responses of 397 individuals who were reached on cellphones, representing a demographic cross section of Florida.
© 2020 Florida Realtors® Article content from Florida REALTORs Newsletter / Magazine, and from other sources.
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