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Consumer confidence plunges in July

Rochester Business Journal
August 6, 2014

Confidence among upstate consumers took a nosedive last month, falling to its lowest level since November 2013, a monthly survey by the Siena Research Institute shows.

Overall confidence—which includes current and future confidence—dropped to 68.3 in July from 76.5 in June and 71.7 a year ago. Current confidence fell to 77.3 from 83.7 in June and 80 in July 2013, while future confidence was 62.5, compared with 71.8 in June and 66.4 a year ago.

Statewide, overall confidence fell to 73.5 in July from 78.8 in June and 75.4 a year ago. Current confidence was 78.1, down from 84.9 in June and 79.2 in July 2013. Future confidence fell to 70.6 from 74.9 in June and 73 in July 2013.

Nationally, overall confidence was 81.8 last month, down from 82.5 in June and 85.1 a year ago. Current confidence rose to 97.4 from 96.6 in June, but was down from 98.6 a year ago. Future confidence was 71.8, compared with 73.5 in June and 76.5 a year ago.

“Upstaters, older consumers and men fell sharply this month as the crisis in the Middle East and unrest in the Ukraine dominated the headlines,” SRI founding director Doug Lonnstrom said. “More New Yorkers say they are worse off financially than a year ago and continue to be mixed about the future.”

Consumers in the highest income bracket continued to report the highest overall confidence in July, while Republicans continued to report the lowest.

Some 59 percent of upstate consumers said gas prices were having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition, down from 65 percent in June. Sixty-eight percent said food prices were having a serious impact on their finances, compared with 73 percent in June.

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

“As we enter the dog days of summer, consumers remain unsure about the true temperature of the economy,” Lonnstrom said.

The SRI consumer sentiment index was based on calls to more than 625 residents statewide in July.

(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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