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Florida Consumer Confidence Hits 17-Year High

Consumer sentiment in Florida reached its highest level in 17 years, increasing 1.4 points in April to 102 from a revised figure of 100.6 in March.

By Toby Tobin

Flagler BeachGAINESVILLE, Fla. – May 1, 2019 – Consumer sentiment in Florida reached its highest level in 17 years, increasing 1.4 points in April to 102 from a revised figure of 100.6 in March.

These levels of confidence have not been observed since March 2002 when consumer sentiment reached 102 points.

Among the five components that comprise the index, one decreased and four increased.

Current conditions
Floridians' opinions about current economic conditions were mixed. Views of personal finances now compared with a year ago increased eight-tenths of a point, from 96.7 to 97.5. Conversely, opinions as to whether now is a good time to buy a big ticket item such as an appliance decreased 1.2 points, from 107.5 to 106.3.

Future expectations
The three components representing expectations for future economic conditions improved in April. Expectations of personal financial situations a year from now rose 3.2 points, from 106.8 to 110 – the highest level for this component since May 1999 when it reached 110 points.

Expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next year increased 2.3 points, from 97.6 to 99.9. Similarly, expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next five years increased 2.4 points, from 94.2 to 96.6.

"Overall, Floridians are more optimistic," says Hector H. Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF's Bureau of Economic and Business Research. "April's confidence boost stems from the positive outlook regarding national economic conditions in the short- and long-run. It is worth noting expectations are split among the population by gender, with women reporting less-favorable views.

Other economic indicators in Florida continue to be favorable. In March, economic activity expanded and the Florida unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.5 percent. Compared with last year, the number of jobs added statewide was 209,700, an increase of 2.4 percent.

Among all industries, professional and business services gained the most jobs, followed by education and health services, and leisure and hospitality. The information industry was the only sector losing jobs.

Additionally, personal income in Florida increased by 5.2 percent in 2018 compared with 4.5 percent for the nation, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Net earnings, which is the sum of wages and salaries, supplements to wages and salaries, and proprietors' income, contributed most to this increase in personal income. Professional, scientific, and technical services and construction were the leading contributors to the earnings increase in Florida.

"Looking ahead, given the economic outlook and the current levels of confidence, we anticipate consumer sentiment to remain high in Florida in the following months," Sandoval adds.

Conducted April 1-25, the UF study reflects the responses of 539 individuals who were reached on cellphones, representing a demographic cross-section of Florida. The index used by UF researchers is benchmarked to 1966, which means a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence for that year. The lowest index possible is a 2, the highest is 150.

© 2019 Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.


Toby Tobin: REALTOR®, SRES®

I'm a Florida licensed REALTOR®, SRES®, affiliated with Grand Living Realty in Palm Coast, Fla. As a real estate consultant and journalist, I have years of experience and a treasure trove of relevant data. I help developers, builders, homebuyers, and sellers achieve improved outcomes with reduced stress, knowing that their real estate decisions are sound and fact-based.

Call me at (386) 931-7124 or email me at Toby@GoToby.com.

Listen to my radio show, Real Estate Mattersevery Saturday morning right after the 11:00 A.M. news break on WNZF News Radio 1550 AM or 94.9 FM. Download the Flagler Radio App from the App Store so you can hear Real Estate Matters anywhere in the world.

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Don "Toby" Tobin is a licensed real estate professional affiliated with Grand Living Realty. Toby is a member of the Flagler County Association of Realtors®, the Florida Association of Realtors, Enterprise Flagler, Flagler Home Builders Association, and the National Association of Realtors.

GoToby.com proivdes real estate news, commentary, and analysis for Palm Coast and Flagler Country Florida, as well as Realtor® referrals and consultation to buyers, sellers, and developers.