Chase-JAXUSA Partnership Survey Reveals Northeast Floridians Are Optimistic about Local Economy

The survey reveals that two-thirds of Northeast Floridians believe their local economy is stable or getting better, while 53 percent believe the same of the national economy.

Northeast Floridians are also more optimistic about their local job market than the national job market. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of Northeast Floridians rate the current job market in the area as steady or good, whereas about half (52 percent) believe that the nation's job situation is stable or getting better. Northeast Floridians also believe that taxes and fees (45 percent) and health care costs (28 percent) are the most important factors influencing local business growth.

“The greater Jacksonville area, from Duval to St. Johns County, is a great place to live and work, so we are not surprised that consumers in the area have a strong sense of optimism about the local economy and job market,” said Michael Butler, market leader of JPMorgan Chase in Northeast Florida. “Through our expansion in the area, consumers have shared great insights about life in our region and this survey helps us gain an even fuller perspective so we can more effectively help them achieve their financial goals.”

Life is Good in the Jacksonville Region

Northeast Floridians overwhelmingly believe the area is a great place to live — a substantial majority (86 percent) of survey respondents have a favorable opinion of living across the Jacksonville metropolitan area and more than half (51 percent) think that buying a home in their community is a good or excellent investment. Driving their affection for the area are the climate and weather (21 percent), quality of life (14 percent), and housing prices and cost of living (13 percent). Of those living in Northeast Florida, one-third moved to the region for a job-related reason, and nearly three-in-10 (27 percent) say they were born and raised locally.

“Our region is very attractive to residents and business. The innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, optimism about economic conditions, and a young highly skilled and ever-growing talent base are key to boosting business growth locally,” said Jerry Mallot, executive vice president of the JAX Chamber and president of JAXUSA Partnership.

Proud of the Armed Forces

While only 7 percent of survey participants live in the area due to a current military assignment, an overwhelming majority (82 percent) feel that the military installations and personnel have a positive impact on their local economy. According to respondents, having a strong military presence in their community is viewed as a positive contributor to economic stability and jobs (32 percent) and safety and peace of mind (20 percent).

Mindful About Personal Finances

Aligned with their views on the well-being of the local market, consumers in the region are planning to spend. More than half (53 percent) are expecting to buy a car in the next five years and 31 percent are planning to take a dream vacation. In addition, Northeast Floridians reported that they are spending more money on food and groceries (44 percent) and gas (27 percent) this year compared to last year.

Importantly, Northeast Floridians demonstrate responsibility when it comes to managing their day-to-day finances. Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) who have a credit card say that they know what their current credit score is, and 62 percent have checked their credit score within the past six months. Of those with a credit card, more than half (51 percent) say they pay off their credit card balance in full every month, and 43 percent say they pay the minimum balance plus whatever they can afford.

When it comes to managing their personal finances, people locally are most concerned about health care costs (72 percent), having enough money in savings (72 percent) and saving for retirement (65 percent). Despite this high level of concern about managing their finances, half of survey respondents feel that they are behind on estate planning, including their will and inheritance, 47 percent feel they are behind on maintaining an emergency savings fund, and 45 percent say they are behind on saving for retirement.

“Personal finance savvy is key to achieving goals and staying on track, and people in our community have a great understanding of where they are at when it comes to managing their money, and an eye set on where they want to do more,” said Butler. “Through our network of eight branches and 24 ATMs in the seven-county region, Chase provides consumers across Northeast Florida with the tools and resources they need to meet their personal and business needs.”

About the Survey

The 2014 Chase-JAXUSA Partnership Pulse of the Consumer Survey is an online poll of 419 adults in the seven-county region of Northeast Florida: Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns, conducted May 27 — June 6, 2014. In addition to the Northeast Florida area sample, an online poll was conducted of a randomly selected representative sample of 1,036 adults nationwide conducted during the same timeframe. The credibility interval for the Northeast Florida survey is +/-4.9 percentage points and larger for subgroups. The credibility interval for the national survey is +/-3.5 percentage points and larger for subgroups.


Wall Street Journal

Maribel Ferrer, Chase