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NYC, Rochester lead the way in consumer confidence

Rochester Business Journal
April 11, 2012

The Rochester metro area ranked second statewide in terms of consumer confidence in the first quarter 2012, the latest quarterly consumer confidence survey by the Siena Research Institute shows.

Overall confidence—which includes current and future confidence—was 77.6, up nearly 7 points from 70.7 in the fourth quarter and more than 13 points from a year ago. Current confidence was 78.8, compared with 73.9 in the fourth quarter and 71.3 a year ago. Future confidence improved to 76.9 from 68.6 in the fourth quarter and 59.9 in the first quarter last year.

Overall confidence in each of the nine metro areas surveyed showed increases in overall, future and current confidence, SRI reported. The New York City area ranked first in terms of overall confidence in the first quarter.

“We haven’t seen this for a while,” SRI founding director Douglas Lonnstrom said. “Consumers, whether looking back, forward or when taking stock of today, are more upbeat than they’ve been in nearly five years in every single region of the state.”

Lonnstrom noted that each of the regions recorded healthy gains in their willingness to spend.

“New York City and Rochester not only ranked one and two, but also cracked the breakeven point, and now are more optimistic than pessimistic about their economic condition,” he added.

Overall confidence among Buffalo consumers improved to 70.8 in the first quarter from 64.6 in the fourth quarter and 63.1 a year ago. Current confidence jumped to 80.7 from 68.6 in the fourth quarter and 71.6 in the first quarter 2011. Future confidence was 64.5 in the first quarter, up from 62 in the fourth quarter and 57.7 a year ago.

Syracuse area consumer confidence rose to 71.3 in the first quarter from 60.6 in the fourth quarter and 61.5 a year ago. Current confidence was 76.6, compared with 65.6 in the fourth quarter and 70.1 a year ago. Future confidence increased to 67.9 from 57.4 in the fourth quarter and 56 in the first quarter 2011.

Buying plans among Rochester area consumers are up for vehicles, computers, furniture, houses and major home improvements. While consumer confidence is reported as an index number, buying plans reflect the percentage of respondents who plan specific spending patterns in the next six months, SRI noted.

The SRI index measures people’s willingness to spend, rather than their ability to spend.

(c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail

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