Consumer sentiment sliding
In another clear sign of recovery from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, Florida recently posted its lowest weekly number of unemployment claims in the last 16 years. The Sunshine State has also grabbed the top spot in number of new business application and landed four cities on the top 15 list of best places to start a business. On the flip side, consumer confidence is down to its lowest level in a decade.
Jobless Claims: The week ending February 26 – shortened by the Presidents’ Day holiday – saw an estimated 3,122 initial unemployment claims filed in Florida for the week. That’s down from the 5,510 for the week before and is only the third time since 2006 that weekly claims have fallen below 4,000. The overall 4-week claims average is now where it was pre-pandemic. The latest state unemployment rate is 4.4%.
New Business Applications: Florida had the most number of new business applications nationwide in 2021, according to Business Formation Statistics from the U.S Census Bureau. Of the 5.8 million applications filed, Florida had 683,680 of them, more than any other state. As small businesses were especially hit hard by the pandemic, this is good news indeed and a sign the entrepreneurial spirit in Florida is alive and determined.
A study published by Real Estate Witch of the 50 most populous metro areas in the U.S. resulted in a “startup city” score for each. Florida has four cities on its “Top 15 best places to start a business” list and in fact, all were among the top 10 spots, with Orlando (3), Miami (4), Tampa (6), and Jacksonville (8). You can read more in this analysis by Florida Realtors.
Consumer Sentiment: Florida consumers aren’t quite so bright and cheery. The Florida Consumer Sentiment Index for February saw numbers slide for the second month in a row, reaching their lowest level in the last 10 years. The February index was 68.4, down from January’s 69.5. Among the five components that make up the index, four decreased. The largest decline was in opinions on whether this is a good time to buy a major household item. Opinions on personal finances now compared to a year ago and a year from now, as well as expectations about the U.S. economy in the next year were all down. Slightly up were outlooks of the U.S. economy in the next five years.
We’ll see you on the trail,