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Floridians’ consumer confidence rebounds in September

After measuring its biggest one-month decline since 2015 in August, a monthly University of Florida survey found consumers feeling better.
Florida consumers surveyed in September felt more hopeful about the future of their own finances and the national economy.

After a gloomy August, Florida consumers regained much of their sunny outlook in September, according to a monthly survey by the University of Florida.

The survey, done by the university’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, called 386 Floridians on their cell phones and asked five questions about their personal finances, their expectations for the national economy and whether they think now is a good time to buy something big for the home like an appliance.

The number who said their personal finances had gotten worse over the last year went up, but more said they felt good about where their household budget would be a year from now. Researchers also found more optimism about how Floridians expect the national economy to be performing a year and five years from now.

“The increase in this month’s confidence stems from consumers’ expectations regarding the national economic conditions over the next year,” Hector H. Sandoval, the director of the bureau’s economic analysis program, said in announcing the survey results. That perception was “shared by all Floridians,” he said, and was especially strong among women, those 60 or older, and those with incomes above $50,000.

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Researchers use the survey results to produce a single number on a scale of 2 to 150 that reflects how Florida consumers feel about their finances and the future. In July, that number was 100. In August, it dropped to 93.4, its biggest one-month drop in more than four years. In September, it bounced back up to 97.3.

The results bucked the expectations of University of Florida economists who anticipated that August’s “sharp decline” in consumer confidence foreshadowed more pessimism over the Trump administration’s trade war with China, threats of higher tariffs and recent signs of the beginning of a broad economic slowdown.

Floridians weren’t the only consumers who felt hopeful about the future in September. After finding a similar drop in August, a national consumer sentiment survey done by the University of Michigan likewise found more confidence about the economy.

So maybe this will continue, Sandoval said.

“Despite the ups and downs … over the last several months, consumer sentiment has remained high, and thus we anticipate it to continue at the same levels in the following months,” he said.

Contact Richard Danielson at rdanielson@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times


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