A monthly survey of Jacksonville manufacturers by the University of North Florida’s Local Economic Indicators Project is painting a more optimistic picture of the Northeast Florida economy.
A purchasing manager’s index derived from UNF’s Jacksonville Economic Monitoring Survey rose from 49.7 in September to 51 in October, signaling modest growth in the area’s economy. A number above 50 indicates expansion.
Five of the 12 individual indicators in the survey showed expansion in October.
“Local businesses in Jacksonville appear to be managing output effectively despite softening orders, and there are indications of confidence in future business activities, with the Business Activity Outlook Index rising,” UNF economist Albert Loh said in the monthly report.
“Moreover, the area’s Employment Index has shown improvement, suggesting that Jacksonville is experiencing a growth in job creation, which could lead to increased consumer spending and a boost to the local economy,” he said.
The Jacksonville index contrasts with the national index from the Institute for Supply Management, which fell 2.3 points to 46.7 in October.
However, a global quarterly economic survey by Jacksonville-based Dun & Bradstreet found businesses worldwide are becoming more optimistic about the economy.
“The survey results suggest, despite elevated interest rates across markets, businesses worldwide were becoming cautiously optimistic about Q4 2023,” said Neeraj Sahai, President of Dun & Bradstreet International, in a news release.
The business data firm cautioned that its survey was completed in September.
“Since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict, there is considerable political uncertainty in the world, and it will be important to monitor its effect on global business optimism over the next few quarters and interpret these results with these emerging issues in mind,” Sahai said.
Loh said the confidence expressed by Jacksonville manufacturers is important for strategic planning and investment.
“Comments from survey respondents that point to strong consumer demand, restocking activities and a steady market reinforce this sentiment, indicating that businesses are experiencing an upswing or expect conditions to improve,” he said.
“Despite broader national economic headwinds, Jacksonville’s economic environment presents reasons for optimism,” Loh said.
“The local manufacturing sector is poised to meet anticipated demand and deal with competitive pressures. The uptick in the PMI and the optimistic outlook on business activities reflect a regional economy that is stabilizing and preparing for potential growth,” he said.