A monthly survey of Northeast Florida manufacturers by the University of North Florida’s Local Economic Indicators Project suggests a brighter outlook for Jacksonville than the rest of the country.

A purchasing manager’s index derived from UNF’s Jacksonville Economic Monitoring Survey rose from 50.4 in January to 51.6 in February. Any number above 50 indicates manufacturing activity is expanding.

The Jacksonville index contrasts with the national PMI index from the Institute for Supply Management, which stood at 47.8 in February, indicating contraction.

UNF economist Albert Loh said in his monthly report on the survey that the Jacksonville index reflects “positive business sentiment and increased activities such as employment, new orders, and production levels. “

“This local expansion, coupled with the stability in prices and supplies, points to a favorable business climate in Jacksonville, poised for further economic development,” he said.

The survey’s business activity outlook was at 53 in February, indicating a majority of Jacksonville manufacturers expect their business operations to expand in the next 12 months.

“This optimism is a positive signal for the local economy, suggesting that businesses anticipate growth in demand, increased production, or an improvement in the overall economic environment,” Loh said.

“Such confidence can lead to increased investments in capacity, hiring, and innovation as businesses prepare to meet expected future demand.”

The survey’s employment index stood at 55, indicating a majority of manufacturers expect to increase their staff.

Loh said there are some positive signals in the national economy from the ISM monthly index.

“Despite the overall contraction, there are sectors within the national economy, such as Fabricated Metal Products, Chemical Products, and Transportation Equipment, that registered growth. These industries are considered foundational due to their broad impact across the manufacturing sector, signaling potential for recovery and expansion in the wider economy,” he said. 

“The local economy’s performance, especially in the context of improving but still challenging national conditions, highlights Jacksonville’s potential for continued growth and development,” Loh said.

“The specific areas of strength within Jacksonville, such as the anticipation of increased demand and production, as well as the stable supplier delivery times, suggest that businesses are well-positioned to capitalize on market opportunities.”



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