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Upstate consumer confidence dips, survey finds

Rochester Business Journal
February 6, 2013

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

Overall confidence—which includes current and future confidence—fell to 68.3 last month from 70.8 in December and 69.5 a year ago. Current confidence was 72.4, compared with 74.3 in December and 73.9 in January 2012. Future confidence fell to 65.7 from 68.6 in December and 66.7 a year ago.

Statewide, overall confidence fell to 74.5 from 77.3 in December and 74.8 a year ago. Current confidence was 74.3, compared with 75.4 in December and 72 a year ago. Future confidence dropped to 74.7—its lowest point in six months—from 78.6 in December and 76.6 in January 2012.

Nationally, overall confidence rose to 73.8 in January from 72.9 in December, but was down from 75 a year ago. Current confidence was 85, down from 87 in January, but up from 84.2 in January 2012. Future confidence was 66.6 last month, compared with 63.8 in December and 69.1 a year ago.

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

“Backing off a five-and-a-half-year high, consumer sentiment dipped for the second consecutive month in New York,” SRI founding director Douglas Lonnstrom said. “While still above the point at which optimism and pessimism balance, Democrats fell sharply this month, as did younger New Yorkers, women and lower income residents.”

Some 64 percent of upstate consumers said gas prices are having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition, compared with 62 percent in December. Seventy-two percent said food prices are having a serious impact on their finances, compared with two-thirds in December.

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

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

(c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail service@rbj.net.


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