Friday, February 16, 2018
Business

Surprise jump in Florida consumer confidence

Floridians haven't been this confident about economic conditions in a long time — nearly eight years — based on a monthly University of Florida survey released Tuesday.

UF researchers found that consumer sentiment jumped 2 points to hit a post-recession high of 86 in November.

Chris McCarty, director of UF's Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research, acknowledged the results were surprising.

"We had been expecting a slight decline in sentiment in the November reading related to the election," McCarty said in a statement. "Since 2006, the index had fallen in the November of a presidential or midterm election, in part due to the even split between Democrats and Republicans in Florida. Given the close race for governor, we expected a decline."

McCarty said a falling unemployment rate, lower gas prices, rising stock market and rising home prices compared to a year ago may all have bolstered confidence.

Out of the five components used in the index, two of them jumped 3 points: confidence in the health of the U.S. economy over the next year and faith that now is a good time to buy a big-ticket item like an appliance.

The index is benchmarked to 1966, which means a value of 100 is equivalent to the same level of confidence as for that year.

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