Unemployment claims in Florida remained relatively low last week, as consumer sentiment improved for a second consecutive month.
The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday released a report that estimated 5,691 first-time unemployment claims were filed in Florida last week, down from a revised count of 6,109 during the week that ended June 24.
Florida has averaged 5,811 claims a week since the start of the year. Nationally, an estimated 248,000 claims were filed last week, an increase of 12,000 from the previous week. The nation has averaged 253,250 claims over the past four weeks.
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The new claims estimates came after the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research projected a continued improvement in consumer sentiment.
“The increase in June’s confidence is largely driven by Floridians’ anticipation of national economic conditions in the long run,” Hector Sandoval, the bureau’s economic analysis program director, said in a statement Wednesday. “Nevertheless, it is worth noting that Floridians’ views on discretionary spending intentions have been trending upward and have reached their highest level since October 2021.”
Consumer views are shaped by an easing of inflation and the Federal Reserve Board’s decision to hold interest rates steady in mid-June, according to the UF bureau.
“The Fed typically combats inflation by raising rates, which results in tighter financial conditions, including higher borrowing costs,” Sandoval said. “However, improved spending intentions indicate consumers are willing to increase their spending, which is a promising sign for the economy.”
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Sandoval added that with Florida’s unemployment rate holding steady at 2.6 percent since the start of the year, “further gradual improvements in consumer sentiment” are anticipated. The state is scheduled to release a June unemployment report on July 21.
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