Florida consumer confidence dips, but remains strong overall

Published September 4 2018
Updated September 4 2018

Florida consumer sentiment fell in August, but remains high overall for the year, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the University of Florida.

Consumer confidence dropped 2.3 points in August to 98.3. But figures for July were revised higher, showing Florida consumer sentiment at 100.6, topping 100 points for the third time this year — which hasn’t happened since 2000.

"While these two components moved in opposite directions, they showed overall that opinions regarding current economic conditions have decreased slightly among Floridians in August," said Hector H. Sandoval, director of the economic analysis program at UF, in a statement.

UF’s consumer study reflects the responses of 393 people over the month of August. 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 index can range from 2 to 150 points.

Previous coverage:Florida consumer confidence drops across-the-board in June

The analysis shows Floridians’ perception of their personal finances between now and last year declined nearly six points, but at the same time there was a four-point jump in consumers who said now was a good time to buy a major household appliance at 109.4 points.

Florida’s economy has been expanding while the labor market is tightening. Figures for July show 210,600 jobs were added statewide year over year, an increase of 2.5 percent.

Leisure and hospitality gained the most jobs, followed by construction, education and health services and professional and business, according to state analysis. The latest unemployment report shows the jobless rate fell one-tenth of a percent from 3.8 to 3.7 percent from June to July.

"Despite the decline in consumer confidence experienced in August, overall confidence has remained high among Floridians in the last months," Sandoval said

He suspects an increase in wages following the tightening labor market, which will result in greater spending and consumption.

Contact Sara DiNatale at sdinatale@tampabay.com. Follow @sara_dinatale.