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Confidence sinks for upstate consumers

Rochester Business Journal
November 8, 2013

Confidence among upstate consumers fell to its lowest point in nearly two years in October, a monthly survey by the Siena Research Institute shows.

Overall confidence—which includes current and future confidence—fell to 65.2 from 71.7 in September and 75.6 a year ago. Current confidence was 73.1, compared with 80 in September and 73.9 a year ago. Future confidence fell to 60.1 from 66.4 in September and 76.6 in October 2012.

Statewide, overall confidence was 69.6 last month, down from 76.2 in September and 78.7 a year ago. Current confidence fell to 73.5 from 78.4 in September and 75.4 a year ago. Future confidence was 67.2, compared with 74.7 in September and 80.8 in October 2012.

Nationally, overall confidence was 73.2 in October, compared with 77.5 in September and 82.6 a year ago. Current confidence fell to 89.9 from 92.6 in September, but was up from 88.1 in October 2012. Future confidence nationally fell to 62.5 last month from 67.8 in September and 79 a year ago.

“The government shutdown threw consumer sentiment into reverse in October,” SRI founding director Doug Lonnstrom said. “Every demographic group dropped in confidence with women, older residents and those earning over 100k taking the largest hits.”

Lonnstrom noted that reopening the government softened what could have been an all-time one-month drop in consumer sentiment.

Democrats continued to report the highest overall confidence in September, while Republicans continued to report the lowest.

Some 59 percent of upstate consumers said gasoline prices were having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial conditions, down from 71 percent in September. More than two-thirds said food prices were having a serious impact on their finances, down from 71 percent in September.

Buying plans were down for consumer electronics, furniture, homes and major home improvements, while plans to purchase vehicles were unchanged.

The SRI consumer sentiment index was based on calls to 750 residents statewide last month.

(c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail

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