GAINESVILLE, Fla. – June 25, 2014 – Consumer sentiment among Floridians rose to a post-recession high in June, climbing four points to 82, according to a new University of Florida (UF) survey.

"Because the confidence level has been wavering between the upper 70s and low 80s for more than a year, we did not expect this jump," says Chris McCarty, director of UF's Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research, since the state had a recent slowdown in housing starts and a rise in unemployment.

The state news follows a report yesterday that national consumer confidence rose 3 points in June.

All five components comprising the Florida index increased. Survey takers' assessment of whether they're financially better off now than a year ago rose four points to 75, its highest level since the end of the Great Recession. Their expectations of improved personal finances one year from now increased five points to 81.

Respondents were also upbeat about the national economy over the coming year, registering a rise of seven points to 81. Their outlook for the next five years rose two points to 78.

Meanwhile, consensus on whether now is a good time to buy big household appliances rose four points to 94 – another post-recession record.

June's burst of optimism was most evident among younger Floridians and those in low-income households. The current personal finances component among households with incomes under $30,000 a year shot up 18 points.

McCarty finds the uptick in lower-income households puzzling.

"This demographic is unlikely to benefit from record levels in the stock market and price gains in the housing market that typically affect higher income households," McCarty says, including a lingering effect from the Great Recession, a delay in household formation among younger Americans,who have had difficulty finding well-paying jobs and those saddled with student loans, he said.

Something else may explain the optimism, McCarty said. Gas prices have fallen in the past month. The state has also added jobs over the past year, but mostly low paying ones. "Many of them are associated with leisure and hospitality," McCarty said. "Those are the kinds that will be filled by people who live in lower income households."

Conducted from June 1-21, the UF study reflects the responses of 425 individuals 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.

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