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Upstate consumer confidence lags state and nation, survey finds

Rochester Business Journal
January 6, 2014

Confidence among upstate consumers continued to improve in December, but trailed both statewide and national confidence, a monthly survey by the Siena Research Institute shows.

Overall confidence—which includes current and future confidence—increased to 69.1 in December from 67.4 in November, but was down from 70.8 a year ago. Current confidence was 72.4 in December, down from 74.3 in November and a year ago. Future confidence rose to 66.9 last month from 63 in November, but fell from 68.6 in December 2012.

Statewide, overall confidence was 73.6 last month, compared with 73.3 in November and 77.3 a year ago. Current confidence was unchanged from November to December at 74.3, but was down from 75.4 in December 2012. Future confidence was 73.2, compared with 72.7 in November and 78.6 a year ago.

Nationally, overall confidence rose to 82.5 in December from 75.1 in November and 72.9 a year ago. Current confidence soared more than 10 points from 88 in November to 98.6 in December and was up nearly 12 points from 87 a year ago. Future confidence was 72.1 last month, up from 66.8 in November and 63.8 a year ago.

“As 2014 begins, overall consumer sentiment in New York remains slightly more pessimistic than optimistic,” SRI director Don Levy said. “As resolutions are made, New Yorkers take financial inventory of roads just traveled, and look forward and plan for the turns that lie ahead.”

Those in this highest income bracket of $100,000 or more reported the highest overall confidence in December, while Republicans reported the lowest.

Some 63 percent of upstate consumers said gasoline prices were having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial conditions, up from 60 percent in November. Seventy-one percent said food prices were having a serious impact on their finances, up from 67 percent the previous month.

Buying plans were up statewide for furniture and major home improvements in December, while plans to purchase vehicles and consumer electronics were down. Buying plans for homes were unchanged last month.

The SRI consumer sentiment index was based on calls to more than 620 residents statewide last month.

(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail service@rbj.net.


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