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GAINESVILLE (CBSMiami/NSF) – We are starting to feel a little better about where we are headed.

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At least that’s according to a recent University of Florida report on consumer confidence.

From January to February, Floridians ranked their confidence in the economy at 94.7, the highest mark since June 2006, when the state’s housing market was at its pre-recession peak, according to a release from UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

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“While much of the world economy struggles, the U.S. economy seems to be hitting its stride, and Florida is emblematic of that recovery in many ways.” Chris McCarty, director of the research center, said in a prepared statement. “Most indicators are quite positive, but there are still some signs of weakness that make some economists think twice. The main concern is wage growth, which has not risen in line with the increase in employment.”

The monthly mark for February is 1.6 points higher than in January and 17.2 points greater than a year earlier.
Driving the increase is a perception that personal finances are better than a year ago and that now is a good time to buy big-ticket items, such as cars or appliances.

McCarty noted that Florida tourism continues to post record numbers of visitors, housing prices for existing single-family homes are up 7.4 percent over the previous year, Floridians investing in the stock market are likely experiencing significant gains and that gas prices remain low at $2.30 a gallon, although they are up nearly 30 cents from the previous month.

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The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.