Floridians' consumer confidence returned in December, the highest in nine months, the University of Florida reported Tuesday.
Consumer confidence increased three points to 69, with UF researchers saying it reflected a cautious optimism in the economy.
Floridians were more upbeat in four of the five indexes used by survey takers. Their biggest jump in confidence came from their overall expectations in the U.S. economy and their perception that now was a good time to buy "big ticket" items, such as computers and household appliances. Floridians' confidence in the economy improving over the five years also increased. They also rated their personal finances as more improved than a year ago.
Their only decline was their assessment of their personal finances in a year.
Floridians are beginning to show the same growing confidence in the economy as the rest of the nation, said Chris McCarty, director of UF's Bureau of Economic and Business Research and Survey Research Center.
"Floridians are most likely optimistic about continued improvement in the employment situation," McCarty said, with the state's unemployment rate declining in November.
Still, the overall confidence was a point below from a year ago, in December 2010.
Floridians have been on a roller coaster of emotion since their confidence fell in August before rebounding in September and then dropping again in October and November, said McCarty.
The UF survey measures the mood of consumers 18 or older, living in households, who were randomly telephoned.
It included 411 individuals and was done between Dec. 11 and 22.
The index is bench marked to 1966, so a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence for that year. The lowest index possible is a 2; the highest is 150.
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