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Hispanic Consumers Remain Wary

Survey respondents worry about the economy, but more upbeat about personal finances.

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PHOTOGRAPHY: PeopleImages/iStock
PHOTOGRAPHY: PeopleImages/iStock

Hispanic consumers were less optimistic in the first quarter of this year than they were the previous period, thanks to concerns about the U.S. economy in the short and long term. That’s the conclusion of the latest survey from the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI).

The Hispanic Consumer Sentiment Index fell to 80.2 in the first quarter, down from 85.3 in the fourth quarter of 2022. Still, the index remains well above the 74.3 in the third quarter of 2022.

Hispanics account for billions of dollars in consumer spending in the United States. Still, they have been more heavily affected by inflation and COVID-19 than other populations, weighing down their consumer sentiment, said Monica Escaleras, Director of the university’s polling initiative.

In the latest survey, optimism by respondents declined slightly in four of its five questions.

In the first quarter of 2023, 54 percent of the 444 respondents said they were better off financially than a year ago – 2 percentage points lower than the last quarter of 2022.

Regarding the short-run economic outlook, 47 percent of Hispanics said they expect the country to experience good business conditions in the upcoming year, but that was down from 56 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022.

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As for the long-run economic outlook, respondents were slightly less optimistic in the first quarter (50 percent) than in the fourth quarter (53 percent).

Meanwhile, fewer Hispanics thought it was a good time to buy a big-ticket item in the first quarter (37 percent) compared with the fourth quarter of 2022 (45 percent).

The only question that generated more optimism in the first quarter was whether respondents felt they will be better off financially over the next year (76 percent compared with 72 percent in the fourth quarter).

The poll is based on a sampling of Hispanic adults from Jan. 1 to March 31. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 4.65 percentage points. Responses for the entire sample were weighted to reflect the national distribution of the Hispanic population by region, education, gender, age and income from American Community Survey data.

Click here for the full results of the survey.

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