Monday, June 25, 2018
Business

Floridians' finances improve in January, but concerns for the economy weigh on sentiment, survey finds

Floridians are feeling better about their finances, but concern is growing about the outlook for the U.S. economy, according to survey results released Friday.

Improving personal finances were weighed down by gloomier feelings about the national picture, and the two trends balanced each other out in the University of Florida's January consumer survey.

The monthly index of Florida consumer sentiment stands at 91.6, virtually unchanged from December but down compared with last year. The survey, conducted from Jan. 1 to 24, measures consumer sentiment on a scale of 2 to 150. The benchmark score is 100.

Signs are pointing up for Florida's economy: Unemployment has improved to 5 percent, on par with the rest of the nation, and job growth is outpacing the rest of the country.

But plummeting oil prices and a slowdown in China have made for a tumultuous month on Wall Street, and newly released figures show that the U.S. economy's growth closed out 2015 at a crawl.

Floridians' sense for how the economy will perform this year has fallen sharply since last January, a trend that cuts across demographics, according to Hector Sandoval, director of UF's Economic Analysis Program. "This unfavorable perspective is shared by all Floridians in general, independent of their gender, age or income level," he said in a statement.

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