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Confidence continues to slide among upstate consumers

By VELVET SPICER - 1/3/2013 3:06:35 PM

Confidence among upstate consumers continued to decline in December, a monthly survey by the Siena Research Institute shows.

Overall confidence—which includes current and future confidence—fell to 70.8 last month from 73.6 in November, but was up from 66.4 a year ago. Current confidence was 74.3, compared with 77.7 in November and 66 in December 2011. Future confidence fell to 68.6 from 71 in November, but was up from 66.7 a year ago.

Statewide, overall confidence fell to 77.3 in December from 79.4 in November, but was up sharply from 67.3 a year ago. Current confidence was 75.4 last month, compared with 78.4 in November and 66 a year ago. Future confidence was down slightly to 78.6 from 80 in November, but up from 68.1 a year ago.

Nationally, overall confidence was 72.9 last month, down significantly from 82.7 in November, but up from 69.9 in December 2011. Current confidence was 87, compared with 90.7 in November and 79.6 a year ago. Future confidence fell to 63.8 last month from 77.6 in November, but was up slightly from 63.6 a year ago.

Democrats continued to report the highest overall confidence last month, while Republicans continued to bottom out the list.

“As the holiday season unfolded and the fiscal cliff conversation played in the background, consumer sentiment eased lower in New York,” SRI director Don Levy said. “Nationally, sentiment fell sharply and dropped once again below the point at which optimism exceeds pessimism.”

Consumers are guardedly optimistic toward 2013 as only slightly more anticipate good economic times this year compared with those that predict another tough year, Levy added.

Some 62 percent of upstate consumers said gas prices are having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition, down from 66 percent in November. Two-thirds of upstate consumers said food prices are having a serious impact on their finances, compared with 64 percent in November.

Buying plans were down for vehicles, computers, furniture, houses and major home improvements in December.

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