Easing of Inflation Bolsters Hispanics’ Confidence in U.S. Economy

By paul owers | 1/23/2023

With consumer price hikes moderating, U.S. Hispanics are feeling more optimistic about their personal finances and the economy, according to a new poll from the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI).

The Hispanic Consumer Sentiment Index rose to 85.3 in the fourth quarter from 74.3 in the third quarter and is only one point lower than a year ago.

In the fourth quarter, 56 percent of the 466 respondents said they are better off financially than a year ago, up from 44 percent in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, 72 percent of Hispanics said they expect to be better off financially in the next year, compared with 66 percent in the third quarter.

As for the short-term economic outlook, 56 percent of respondents said they expect the country to experience good business conditions in the next year, up from 44 percent in the third quarter.

“This level of optimism is due to higher incomes and the gradual easing of inflation,” said Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director of FAU BEPI in the College of Business.

Inflation fell to 6.5 percent in December compared with a year ago, according to U.S. government figures. It was the sixth consecutive month of annual decreases.

Airline fares fell 28.5 percent from the previous year, while over the same period car repairs dropped 19.5 percent and delivery services fell 13.3 percent. Economists hope the upbeat report means government officials will be less inclined to take dramatic steps to control inflation. 

Regarding Hispanics’ long-term economic outlook, 53 percent said they expect the country to experience good business conditions over the next five years. That was unchanged from the third quarter.

Hispanics also are becoming more optimistic about buying a big-ticket items, with 45 percent saying it’s a good time to do so, compared with 40 percent in the third quarter. Despite higher mortgage rates, 37 percent said it’s a good time to buy a house, up from 26 percent in the third quarter.

The poll is based on a sampling of Hispanic adults from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2022. The margin of error is +/- 3.54 percentage points. The survey was administered using both landlines via IVR data collection and online data collection using Dynata. Responses for the entire sample were weighted to reflect the national distribution of the Hispanic population by education, gender, age and income, according to latest American Community Survey data. The polling results and full cross-tabulations can be viewed here.