Upstate consumer confidence rises in June

By VELVET SPICER - 7/3/2014

Confidence among upstate consumers in June continued to improve and reached its highest point in a year, a monthly survey by the Siena Research Institute shows.

Overall confidence—which includes current and future confidence—among upstate consumers rose to 76.5 last month from 75.4 in May, but was down slightly from 76.9 a year ago. Current confidence was 83.7, compared with 81.1 in May and 81.5 in June 2013. Future confidence was flat at 71.8 from May and was down from 74 a year ago.

Statewide, overall confidence was 78.8 in June, compared with 76 in May and 78.7 in June 2013. Current confidence rose to 84.9 from 79.6 in May and 80.7 a year ago. Future confidence was 74.9, up from 73.7 in May, but down from 77.4 in June 2013.

Nationally, overall confidence rose to 82.5 from 81.9 in May but was down from 84.1 in June 2013. Current confidence rose to 96.6 in June from 94.5 in May and 93.8 a year ago. Future confidence fell to 73.5 from 73.7 in May and 77.8 a year ago.

“Consumer sentiment increased for the third consecutive month in New York, driven mainly by improved attitudes among New York City residents,” SRI founding director Doug Lonnstrom said. “The overall index, nearly as high as the national measure, is homing in on pre-recession numbers. The increase is not only New York City based, but also grounded more on accepting the present economic realities than on believing that tomorrow will be better.”

Consumers in the highest income bracket reported the highest overall confidence, while Republicans reported the lowest last month.

Some 65 percent of upstate consumers reported gasoline prices were having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition, down from 67 percent in May. Seventy-three percent said food prices were having a serious impact on their finances, compared with 68 percent in May.

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

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

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