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Florida consumer confidence holds steady in January

But University of Florida researchers are watching to see whether coronavirus restrictions on travel and trade will impact Floridians’ outlook in February.
Floridians' feelings about their finances and the future of the national economy remained strong in January, according to a monthly survey done by economic analysis researchers at the University of Florida. [Times (2011)]
Floridians' feelings about their finances and the future of the national economy remained strong in January, according to a monthly survey done by economic analysis researchers at the University of Florida. [Times (2011)]
Published Feb. 5
Updated Feb. 5

At the start of the new year, tensions between the United States and Iran were running high, and University of Florida researchers were watching to see whether that conflict weighed on consumers’ minds as oil prices rose.

Apparently not.

Instead, Florida consumer confidence remained strong and did not change from December to January, according to a monthly survey done by the university’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. With Florida unemployment reaching the lowest level ever recorded, consumer confidence ran a little higher than it did at the start of 2019.

Now researchers are curious to see whether a new set of geopolitical events — the spread of the coronavirus and the resulting restrictions on travel and trade with China — will have any effect on how Floridians feel about their own finances and the economy more generally.

Related: What you need to know about the coronavirus sweeping through China

“Looking ahead to the coming months, we anticipate consumer sentiment to remain around the same levels,” bureau director of economic analysis Hector H. Sandoval said in an announcement of January’s survey results. "Nonetheless, consumer confidence might change its trend as disruptions to supply chains and other travel restrictions affect economic activity in China.”

With consumer spending driving about 70 percent of U.S. economic output, the mood of the buying public is an important determinant of the direction of the national economy.

In January, the bureau called 575 Floridians across the state on their cell phones to ask five questions: how they feel about their personal finances now compared with a year ago, what they expect their finances to be like a year from now, whether this is a good time to make a large household purchase like an appliance, and what they expect the national economy to be like in a year and five years from now.

Results were mixed. Compared with the December poll, slightly fewer respondents expressed optimism about the state of their own finances now compared with a year ago and whether this is a good time to make a major household purchase. At the same time, slightly more were upbeat about what they expected their personal finances to be like a year from how.

Every month, the bureau uses the survey results to score Floridians’ consumer sentiment on an index that ranges from a low of 2 to 150. January’s result was 99.4, the same as in both November and December and up 1.3 points from where it was 12 months before.


  1. A pair of wood storks, left, and a large group of white ibis rest and feed in a wetland area off Loop Road in the Big Cypress National Preserve. Florida is home to more wetlands than any other state except Alaska. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2008)]
  2. People fill Community Cafe as drag queen Viktoria Sommers reads a Dr. Seuss book to children during Drag Queen Story Hour.  [Times (2019)]
  3. Tampa Electric Co. announced plans to double its solar capacity over the next three years.  Pictured is a Tampa Electric worker installing a solar panel on the roof of the Tampa International Airport economy parking garage in 2015. [James Borchuck | Times (2015)]
  4. Wawa and Coppertail partnered to create a craft beer that will only be at the gas station's Florida locations.
  5. The Publix at Channelside (pictured) opened in late August. Now the new store at Westshore in Tampa will open later this month. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  6. Brian Davison is chief executive officer of Equialt, which bought this Safety Harbor home in a tax deed sale. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission contends in a new lawsuit that EquiAlt is a Ponzi scheme, and Davison has diverted investor funds for his own lavish personal spending. Times (2015)
  7. Daily recreations like this Bible scene at the Holy Land Experience in Orlando will end at the Christian theme park, which has been suffering from low attendance and debt for years.
  8. Madico spent $40 million developing its new corporate headquarters and factory on Belcher Road in Pinellas Park. [Amy Pezzicara | Pezz Photo]
  9. The developers of Avalon Park West in Wesley Chapel are planning a $736 million downtown core to accompany nearly 2,700 residences and 355,000 square feet of commercial and office space in a walkable neighborhood. . As part of the deal, Pasco County will consider kicking  in a $33 million 30-year incentive, mostly a tax rebate to help with infrastructure costs.
  10. Pasco County commissioners introduced an ordinance Tuesday governing upkeep of empty property after residents complained about the condition of the Links Golf Club in Hudson, which closed in June 2019.
  11. In this Aug. 8, 2015, file photo former owner of the San Francisco 49ers Edward DeBartolo, Jr., is interviewed before the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. President Donald Trump pardoned DeBartolo, who was convicted in gambling fraud scandal. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
  12. Outback Steakhouse at 4302 W. Boy Scout Blvd. near International Plaza and Bay Street. [Monique Welch | Times]