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Floridians feeling better about the economy, survey finds

Floridians are entering the holiday season feeling better about their bank accounts and the outlook of the economy, according to a new University of Florida survey.

The monthly Consumer Sentiment Index rose to 91.5 in November, an increase of 2 points compared to last month and 5 points compared to this time last year. The survey gauges how confident Floridians feel about their finances and the economy on a scale of 2 to 150.

The jump was driven by improving feeling about personal finances, said Hector Sandoval, director of the UF Economic Analysis Program. That owes in part to drops in the number of people who are unemployed or can't find enough work.

Feelings warmed particularly among people making less than $50,000, the survey found, suggesting improvements to the overall economy may be making their way into Floridians' wallets.

The state's unemployment and underemployment rates are still relatively high, but they have fallen gradually since the recession. The unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in October, and the underemployment rate fell to 11.9 percent in the third quarter of the year.

"It's going down little by little," Sandoval said. "All of these are really positive signals."

Contact Thad Moore at tmoore@tampabay.com. Follow @ThadMoore.

Floridians feeling better about the economy, survey finds 11/25/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 25, 2015 8:23pm]
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