Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Business

Floridians feel good about their finances now. But next year? Not as much, survey finds

A monthly survey of consumer sentiment by the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research found a mixed bag during October.
In a monthly survey during October, more Florida consumers said they felt good about their own finances now, compared with a year ago, than a similar group felt in September. But Floridians were more pessimistic about the future, researchers at the University of Florida found. (Times file photo)
In a monthly survey during October, more Florida consumers said they felt good about their own finances now, compared with a year ago, than a similar group felt in September. But Floridians were more pessimistic about the future, researchers at the University of Florida found. (Times file photo)
Published Oct. 30
Updated Oct. 30

Amid talk of trade wars and interest rate cuts, Floridians continue to toggle between hope and fear when it comes to what they think about their finances and the future of the economy.

Take this month. When University of Florida researchers called 482 residents on their cell phones and asked how they felt about their personal finances compared with a year ago, more said they felt optimistic than did a similar group polled in September.

But consumers told pollsters they felt more pessimistic about:

• How they expect their finances to be a year from now;

• Whether now is a good time to buy an appliance or make another major household purchase;

• How strong they expect the national economy to be a year from now, and five years from now.

So when all the responses were considered together, consumers felt worse overall in October than they had in September, researchers said.

Gloomier expectations about the state of the national economy next year were "shared by all Floridians and are particularly stronger among women, those age 60 and older, and those with income levels above $50,000,” said Hector H. Sandoval, director of the economic analysis program at the university’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research

Overall consumer confidence in Florida has fluctuated for months: It rose steadily from January through April. Then it had a big drop in May. It went up again in June and July, then dropped in August and rose in September before dropping again in October.

But these fluctuations generally have been small. Meanwhile, the state continues to create new jobs and to see its unemployment rate, 3.2 percent in September, approach a record low.

“Despite the slightly decreased and pessimistic outlook about future economic conditions, consumer sentiment continues to be high in Florida, and unemployment levels are currently at their lowest since July 2006,” Sandoval said in a summary of the poll’s findings. "These indicators are positive signs for retailers, who can expect more spending during the holiday shopping season.”

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Rendering of Encompass Health Corporation's planned 37,000-square-foot facility in Land O' Lakes [Pasco EDC]
    News and notes on local businesses
  2. Jeremy Sutliff drags a freshly cut hop plant over to the harvesting machine at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Wimauma. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
    Researchers are trying to make a variety of hops suitable to Florida’s climate.
  3. The Sears in Brooksville, as shown in this captured image from Google Maps, will close next year. [Google]
    The store’s parent company had already announced the area’s last Kmart in Pinellas also is closing.
  4. Tampa is among the most friendly pet-friendly cities for renters. Pictured is downtown Tampa. [Times file photo] [Tampa Tribune]
    According to Homes.com’s recent analysis, nearly 60 percent of rentals on its site in Tampa are pet friendly.
  5. Meridian Concourse Center in Clearwater. [Avison Young]
    The Meridian Concourse Center consists of three buildings.
  6. Tech Data CEO Rich Hume (left) shares a moment with his predecessor, Bob Dutkowsky, during a send-off celebration for Dutkowsky on June 7, 2018 at the company's 
 headquarters in Largo. At the time, Tech Data had already received the first in what would become a series of purchase offers from New York-based private equity giant Apollo Global Management. Along the way, Dutkowsky would play a key role in negotiations with Apollo. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times (2018)
    Apollo Global Management has been trying to buy Tech Data for a year and a half. Along the way, four other companies were interested, too. Two made offers.
  7. At the request of a state lawmaker, Citizens Property Insurance Co.’s board is again bringing in an outside evaluator to help the insurer decide if and how to cull its policyholder base. Pictured is  Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) (left) and Barry Gilway, CEO of Citizens. [Courtesy of Sen. Jeff Brandes and Citizens Property Insurance Co.]
    At the request of St. Petersburg Sen. Jeff Brandes, the insurer will look for ways to shrink.
  8. In addition to offering groceries through Prime Now, Amazon has just launched Amazon Fresh in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
    The online retailer branches out beyond the Whole Foods’ organic products it already offers.
  9. Pinellas County Commission chairwoman Karen Seel said a Tampa economic development group's recent decision to put "Tampa Bay" into its name "does great harm to the progress we have made on regional collaboration."
    But in Tampa, the chief executive officer of the nonprofit, government-supported economic development group is giving no sign of backing off the new name.
  10. This holiday season could be a record for travel. According to AAA, the Auto Club Group. Pictured is traffic on the Bayside Bridge in Clearwater in October. [Times file photo] [CHRIS URSO  |  Times]
    According to AAA, the Auto Club Group, more Americans are traveling this year than previous years.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement