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Confidence among upstate consumers soared in May, reaching its highest mark in six months, a monthly survey by the Siena Research Institute shows.
Overall confidence—which includes current and future confidence—improved to 73.9 in May from 68 in April but was down from 74.7 a year ago. Current confidence was 80 in April, compared with 73.9 in March and 78.4 a year ago. Future confidence was 70.1, up from 64.2 in April, but down slightly from 72.3 in May 2012.
Statewide, overall confidence was 77.2 last month, compared with 73.9 in April and 76.6 a year ago. Current confidence rose to 78.8 last month from 76.6 in March and 76.2 a year ago. Future confidence was 76.1, compared with 72.3 in April and 76.9 in May 2012.
Nationally, overall confidence rose sharply to 84.5 from 76.4 in April and 79.3 a year ago. Future confidence increased to 98 from 89.9 in April and 87.2 a year ago. Future confidence was 75.8, compared with 67.87 in April and 74.3 in May 2012.
“New Yorkers are somewhat more positive towards the economy and business conditions than are national respondents but when it comes to their personal finances New Yorkers are more optimistic than they have been,” SRI founding director Doug Lonnstrom said.
Lonnstrom added that New Yorkers “trail the more bullish whistling we hear across the rest of the 50 states.”
Democrats statewide continued to report the highest overall confidence last month, while those in the lower income bracket reported the lowest confidence. Still, each of the 11 demographics ranked improved their overall confidence in April, with Republicans gaining the most ground.
Some 69 percent of upstate consumers said gas prices are having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition, relatively flat from 68 percent in April. Seventy-one percent of upstate consumers said food prices are having a serious impact on their finances, compared with 72 percent in April.
Buying plans were up for major home improvements last month, while plans to purchase vehicles, computers, furniture and home were down.
The SRI consumer sentiment index was based on calls to more than 800 residents statewide last month.
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