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Consumer confidence hits 2-year low

Fourth-quarter overall consumer confidence in the Rochester area fell to its lowest point in two years, a Siena College survey shows.
In the latest quarterly Consumer Confidence survey by the Siena Research Institute, overall confidence—which includes both current confidence and future confidence—here fell to 70.5 from 75.7 in the third quarter and 77.3 a year ago. The area includes Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans and Wayne counties.
Rochester continued to rank fifth overall statewide among the eight areas surveyed.
Current confidence among Rochester-area consumers fell to 83 in the fourth quarter from 87.1 in the previous quarter and 87.1 a year ago. Future confidence slipped to 62.5 from 68.4 in the third quarter and 71 in the fourth quarter of 2006.
Overall confidence among Buffalo consumers fell to 68.2 in the fourth quarter from 70.5 in the third quarter and 79.1 a year ago. The area ranked seventh in terms of overall confidence statewide. Syracuse ranked fourth statewide with an overall confidence of 70.5, down from 77 in the third quarter and 79.7 a year ago.
“A combination of high energy prices, volatile stock market, bad economic news and talk of recession caused consumer confidence to drop everywhere in the state except Binghamton,” SRI director Douglas Lonnstrom said. “It’s clear, looking at the index and buying plans, the best economy in the state today is the Hudson Valley from Albany to New York City.”
Fourth-quarter buying plans in the Rochester area were down in all categories, including vehicles, computers, furniture, houses and major home improvements.
The SRI index measures people’s willingness to spend, rather than their ability to spend. The results are based on more than 400 responses from each metropolitan area.

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