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Consumer confidence plunges upstate

Overall confidence among Upstate New York consumers continues to take a beating, the latest consumer confidence survey by the Siena Research Institute shows, slipping to a record low last month.
Overall confidence in upstate—which includes both current and future confidence—fell to 53.1 from 60.3 in February, and 77.8 a year ago.
Current confidence among upstate consumers fell to 58.4 from 65.2 in February and 88.3 a year ago. Future confidence fell to its lowest point ever at 49.6 from 57.2 in February and 71 in March 2007.
Statewide, overall confidence fell to 56.8 last month from 62.4 in February and 84.3 a year ago. Current confidence was down to 61.8 from 65.6 in February and 90.6 a year ago. Future confidence was 53.5 in March, compared with 60.3 in February and 80.3 a year ago.
Nationally, overall confidence slid to 69.5 in March from 70.8 in February and 88.4 in March 2007. Current confidence was little changed at 84.2, compared with 83.8 in February and 103.5 a year ago. Future confidence nationally was 60.1 last month, compared with 62.4 in February and 78.8 a year ago.
“Another month of dismal economic news, another month of record lows in consumer confidence,” said SRI director Douglas Lonnstrom in a statement. “With the state’s index falling faster and significantly lower than the national rate and increasing energy costs, the local economy may need more than rebate checks and seasonal buying to steady this ship.”
Buying plans were down for furniture in March, while plans to purchase computers and major home improvements were up. There was no change in buying plans for vehicles and homes.
Consumers in upstate ranked last in terms of overall confidence last month, while Republicans continued to show the highest overall consumer confidence in March.

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