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Floridians’ confidence in the economy drops for third month

By Malena Carollo
Florida's Consumer Sentiment Index fell again in October to 94.3, according to the University of Florida. | [Courtesy of University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research]

GAINESVILLE — Floridians are losing confidence in the economy, according to the latest monthly consumer sentiment survey. The University of Florida survey released Tuesday marks the third month in a row of declining sentiment.

"Most of the pessimism in October comes from unfavorable expectations regarding U.S. economic conditions in the short and long run, especially from people with incomes greater than $50,000 and those 60 and older," Hector Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF, said in a release.

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October’s survey found that Floridians’ confidence in their personal financial situations now compared to last year dipped from 87.1 in September to 85.7. Consumers in the Sunshine State are also less confident that now is a good time to purchase a major household appliance — sentiment dropped from 103.7 percent to 102.5 percent.

And they felt more disheartened about the national economy, as sentiment tumbled from 94 to 90.8 over the month.

The study’s benchmark is consumer sentiment in 1966, which means that was the average level of confidence that year. The highest index possible is 150 and 2 is the lowest.

The only bright spot on this month’s report was a sunny view of how Floridians expected their personal finances would look a year from now — Floridians’ sentiment jumped up from 100.8 in September to 103.3 in October.

Florida’s results are in stark contrast to consumer confidence nationally, which reached the highest index in about 17 years in October, according to a separate report released Tuesday. The study, conducted by analytics company Nielsen, indexed consumer sentiment at 125.9, a bump from 120.6 in September.

It is benchmarked to 1985.

Contact Malena Carollo at [email protected] or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo on Twitter.