Floridians’ confidence in their own financial status dipped sharply during August, reaching the lowest point in the past year as all five index sectors showed a clear decline, a University of Florida consumer survey revealed.
With the exception of only one demographic group — those aged 60 and up — residents registered loss of optimism, with numerical measurements marking a 10.5 point drop in perceptions of one’s own financial situation; and a lesser, 3.1 point decline for the possibility of making a large purchase.
Consumers in the Sunshine State relayed just a minimal drop in their perception of national economic conditions, at only 1.9 points less.
“Most of the pessimism in August stems from the perceptions of personal finance situation now compared with a year ago and the expectations of personal finance situation one year from now, as these two components account for more than three-quarters of the change in the index,” Hector Sandoval, who directs the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR), said.
Overall, Florida residents’ consumer sentiment stands 26.8 points higher than that of five years ago, when the state was just emerging from the recession. Sandoval said that with the exception of July, the reading shows a slight decline over the last six months.
“We should keep in mind that consumer sentiment is in part designed to predict consumer spending,” Chris McCarty, BEBR director, said. “This is one of the indicators that raises questions for Federal Reserve Board members when they consider whether to raise interest rates … Most economists do not expect a rate increase any time soon.”