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Upstate consumer confidence dips in Q1

By VELVET SPICER - 4/10/2013 3:12:03 PM

The mood among Rochester-area consumers—and many others in upstate—was somber in the first quarter this year, the latest quarterly consumer confidence survey by the Siena Research Institute shows.

Overall confidence—which includes current and future confidence—was70.1 in the first quarter, down from 77.8 in the fourth quarter and 77.6 a year ago. Current confidence fell to 76.9 from 79.2 in the fourth quarter and 78.8 a year ago. Future confidence fell more than 11 points to 65.7 in the first quarter from 76.9 in the fourth quarter and a year ago.

The Rochester metro area reported the steepest declines in overall and future sentiment in the first quarter, SRI reported. Overall confidence fell in each of the nine metro areas surveyed from the fourth to the first quarter. Rochester ranked fifth among metros statewide in terms of overall confidence for the quarter.

“Only New York City residents remain more optimistic than pessimistic, while consumers in every other region again see more dark clouds than sunshine,” SRI founding director Douglas Lonnstrom said, calling Rochester’s decline in future sentiment “scary.”

Overall confidence among Buffalo area consumers fell to 69.9 from 74.2 in the fourth quarter and 70.8 in the first quarter last year. Current confidence was 77.7, compared with 81.5 in the fourth quarter and 80.7 a year ago. Future confidence was 65, down from 69.6 in the fourth quarter, but up from 64.5 a year ago.

Consumer confidence in the Syracuse area fell to 71.6 in the first quarter from 74.2 in the fourth quarter, but was up from 71.3 a year ago. Current confidence was 76.9, compared with 74.3 in the fourth quarter and 76.6 in the first quarter a year ago.

Buying plans among Rochester area consumers were up for homes in the first quarter, while plans to purchase vehicles, computers, furniture and major home improvements were down from the fourth quarter.

The SRI index measures people’s willingness to spend, rather than their ability to spend.

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