Holiday season bolsters consumer confidence in economy

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The holiday season is bringing its signature cheer, especially when it comes to how Floridians feel about the economy. Consumer confidence rose in November to 96.7 after dropping for three straight months to 94.8 in October, according to the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

Floridians felt more confident about their personal financial situation compared to this time last year — up to 88.7 from 86.5 — and optimistic about their future financial situation — up to 105.4. However, they felt slightly less confident about buying a large household item, dropping from 102.7 to 101.9 over the month.

Related coverage: Floridians’ confidence in the economy drops for third month>

"Despite one reading going up and the other down this month, the perceptions of current economic conditions among Floridians have remained positive and stable during 2017," said Hector Sandoval, director of the economic analysis program at UF, in a release.

UF’s study is benchmarked to 1966 consumer confidence levels. It ranges from 2 to 150.

The state’s low unemployment rate — 3.6 percent in October — and optimism about the economy has set the state on a bright path for the new year.

"The favorable local economic conditions and positive trends on the labor market, combined with the positive expectations about the U.S. economy in the short and long run will have a positive impact on Florida’s economy in the beginning of next year," Sandoval said.

It isn’t just Floridians who feel sunny. Consumer confidence nationwide this month hit 129.5, the highest index since November 2000. That’s up from 126.2 in October, according to business research group The Conference Board.

"Consumers are entering the holiday season in very high spirits and foresee the economy expanding at a healthy pace into the early months of 2018," Lynn Franco, the Board’s director of economic indicators, told the Associated Press.

The Board’s study examines consumer confidence six months out. It is benchmarked to 1985.

Times wires were used in this report.

 
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