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Upstate consumer confidence sees slight improvement in April

Rochester Business Journal
May 6, 2014

Following the state’s and nation’s lead, confidence among upstate consumers improved slightly in April, a monthly survey by the Siena Research Institute shows.

Overall confidence—which includes current and future confidence—among upstate consumers rose to 69.2 from 68.8 in March and 68 a year ago. Current confidence improved to 77.3 from 73.1 in March and 73.9 in April 2013. Future confidence, however, fell slightly to 64 from 65.9 in March and 64.2 a year ago.

Statewide, overall confidence was 74.4, compared with 73.9 in March and a year ago. Current confidence was 77.7 in April, up from 74.7 in March and 76.6 in April 2013. Future confidence was 72.3, down from 73.5 in March but unchanged from a year ago.

Nationally, overall consumer confidence was 84.1 last month, up from 80 in March and76.4 a year ago. Current confidence rose to 98.7 from 95.7 in March and 89.9 in April 2013. Future confidence was 74.7, compared with 70 in March and 67.8 a year ago.

“Nationally, more citizens now say that they are better off financially than they were a year ago and an overwhelming percentage agree that now is a great time to buy major consumer products,” SRI founding director Doug Lonnstrom said. “The improvement in current sentiment is driven by the plurality that agree that now is a good time to buy, tempered by the caveat ‘if you can.’”

Consumers in the highest income bracket continue to report the highest overall sentiment, while Republicans continued to report the lowest.

Some 69 percent of upstate consumers said gasoline prices were having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial conditions, up from 64 percent in March. Seventy percent of upstate consumers said food prices were having a serious impact on their finances, compared with 66 percent in March.

Buying plans were up from homes last month, while plans to purchase vehicles, consumer electronics, furniture and major home improvements were down.

The SRI consumer sentiment index was based on calls to more than 600 residents statewide in April.

(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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