Florida consumers are feeling more positive about the economy than they have in two years

We’re kicking off 2024 with an “exceptional labor market” and consumer confidence is at a two-year high in Florida. At the same time, inflation has fallen nearly two-thirds from its peak and wages are above pre-pandemic levels.

Bert Costa is a financial planner in Jacksonville. “Well, the latest consumer sentiment numbers have improved. It’s pretty much the highest it’s been in two and a half years and that’s real good. But, one thing to keep in context is that it’s still nowhere near what it was pre-pandemic,” he said.

Costa is talking about a study from the University of Florida that shows consumer sentiment in the state ranks at 73 points.

The lowest possible index is a two, the highest is 150 and before the pandemic, consumer sentiment was over 100 points.

We asked researchers at UF directly how they get this number. They said they surveyed more than 700 people asking them five questions about their personal finances and what they would spend their money on.

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“One of the questions that make this index is, whether you think now is a good time to make a big ticket item purchase — like furniture, like something big that you would normally use a credit card — or a car for example,” Hector Sandoval with the UF Department of Economics said.

We also asked you how you’re feeling about your finances and the economy and got an entirely different perspective. Here’s what some of you told us…

Nicholas writes “I have never been this broke in my adult life (33-years-old) and every month, my bills keep increasing. I don’t know a single person that feels like the economy is in good shape.”

Tammy says, “Gas prices up, groceries still sky high, big corporations laying people off every day, I’m just happy to be treading water!”

Another anonymous viewer told us, “I’m not feeling optimistic about the economy. I am living my life like its a recession just in case.”

Costa explains that while things are getting better, they’re still not great.

“The inflation numbers look like they’re getting under control but that doesn’t mean that prices are any better than they were a year ago, they’re not,” he said. “This is more about how people feel, the consumer sentiment tends to be an emotional rating, not necessarily a rational one.”

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