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Upstate consumer confidence improves

Rochester Business Journal
February 5, 2014

Consumer confidence continued its upward trend last month, with an increase in overall confidence among upstate consumers and all demographics polled, a monthly survey by the Siena Research Institute shows.

Overall confidence—which includes current and future confidence—among upstate consumers improved to 72 in January from 69.1 in and 68.3 a year ago. Current confidence rose to 80.7 from 72.4 in December and a year ago. Future confidence fell slightly to 66.4 from 66.9 in December, but was up from 65.7 in January 2013.

Statewide, overall confidence improved to 77.5 from 73.6 in December and 74.5 a year ago. Current confidence was 80, compared with 74.3 in December and a year ago. Future confidence increased to 75.9 last month from 73.2 in December and 74.7 a year ago.

Nationally, overall confidence fell to 81.2 last month from 83.5 in December, but was up from 73.8 in January 2013. Current confidence fell to 96.8 from 98.6 in December, but was up significantly from 85 a year ago. Future confidence was 71.2, compared with 72.1 in December and 66.6 in January 2013.

“Consumer sentiment is off to a good start in 2014,” SRI founding director Doug Lonnstrom said. “With an index climbing four points in New York, and at its highest mark since June, New Yorkers are feeling better about their place in the economy.”

Despite their strengthened current appraisal of the economy, New Yorkers remain guarded in their outlook for the future, Lonnstrom added.

Those in the highest income bracket of $100,000 or more reported the greatest confidence last month, while Republicans reported the lowest.

Some 62 percent of upstate consumers said gasoline prices were having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial conditions, little changed from December’s 63 percent. Sixty-seven percent said food prices were having a serious impact on their finances, compared with 71 percent in December.

Buying plans were up for furniture and homes in January, while plans to purchase vehicles, consumer electronics and major home improvements declined.

The SRI consumer sentiment index was based on calls to nearly 625 residents statewide last month.

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

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