Confidence among upstate consumers continued to fall last month, a monthly survey by the Siena Research Institute shows.
Overall confidence—which includes current and future confidence—fell to 71.1 in August from 71.7 in July, but was up from 66.7 a year ago. Current confidence rose, however, to 82.2 last month from 80 in July and 72 in August 2012. Future confidence was 64 last month, compared with 66.4 in July and 63.3 a year ago.
Statewide, overall confidence was 73.3 last month, compared with 75.4 in July and 73.9 a year ago. Current confidence was 78.8, down from 79.2 in July, but up from 73.1 in August 2012. Future confidence fell to 69.8 from 73 in July and 74.4 a year ago.
Nationally, overall confidence was 82.1 in August, down from 85.1 in July, but up from 74.3 in August 2012. Current confidence was 95.2, compared with 98.6 in July and 88.7 a year ago. Future confidence was 73.7, down from 76.5 in July, but up from 65.1 in August 2012.
“Overall consumer sentiment slipped again in August, reaching its lowest level since December of 2011 as eroding future sentiment, down over 10 points from last fall, was the prime suspect,” SRI founding director Doug Lonnstrom said about confidence statewide.
Despite a resurgence in the housing market, jittery financial markets and possible military involvement in Syria have nearly twice as many New Yorkers thinking pessimistically about their five-year economic conditions, compared with those with optimistic projections, Lonnstrom noted.
Democrats continued to report the highest overall confidence in August, while Republicans continued to report the lowest. Men showed the steepest decline in overall confidence last month, while women and those under age 55 showed the greatest gains.
Some 71 percent of upstate consumers said gasoline prices were having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial conditions, up from 66 percent in July, while two-thirds said food prices were having a serious impact on their finances, down slightly from 68 percent in July.
Buying plans were down for vehicles, consumer electronics, furniture, homes and major home improvements in August.
The SRI consumer sentiment index was based on calls to more than 550 residents statewide last month.
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