Confidence rises among upstate consumers in April

By VELVET SPICER  - 5/9/2013 3:56:38 PM

Confidence among upstate consumers improved marginally last month, following a dismal March, a survey by the Siena Research Institute shows.

Overall confidence, which includes current and future confidence, climbed to 68 in April from 65.8 in March, but lagged year-ago sentiment of 71.4. Current confidence increased to 73.9 from 71.6 in March, and 71.6 a year ago. Future confidence was 64.2 last month, compared with 62 in March and 71.3 in April 2012.

Statewide, overall confidence was down slightly at 73.9 from 74.5 in March and 74.6 a year ago. Current confidence was 76.6 last month, compared with 77.3 in March and 71 a year ago. Future confidence fell to 72.3 in April from 72.7 in March and 76.9 in April 2012.

Nationally, overall confidence fell to 76.4 from 78.6 in March, but was unchanged from a year ago. Current confidence was 89.9, compared with 90.7 in March and 82.9 in April 2012. Future confidence was 67.8 last month, down from 70.8 in March and 72.3 a year ago.

“Wall Street not only had a strong April but all three major indices, the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P are up by at least 15 percent over the last 12 months,” SRI founding director Doug Lonnstrom said. “Overall the market gains do not translate into growing confidence among consumers as worries over job security and our economic future does not brighten.”

Democrats statewide continued to report the highest overall confidence last month, while Republicans continued to report the lowest confidence. Upstate consumers reported the greatest increase in overall confidence last month.

Some 68 percent of upstate consumers said gas prices are having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition, compared with 74 percent in March. Seventy-two percent said food prices are having a serious impact on their finances, compared with 69 percent in March.

Buying plans were up for homes and major home improvements statewide last month, while plans to purchase vehicles, computers and furniture were down.

The SRI consumer sentiment index was based on call to more than 800 residents statewide last month.

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