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Upstate consumer confidence climbs

Despite dips nationally, overall confidence among upstate consumers rose in August, a monthly survey by the Siena Research Institute shows.

Overall confidence in upstate—which includes current and future confidence—increased to 62.8 last month from 60.2 in July. Current confidence was 67.1 in August, up from 65.6 in July. Future confidence among upstate consumers was at 60.1, up from 56.7 in July.

Statewide, overall confidence rose to 69.1 from 64.3 in July. Current confidence was 64.8 last month, compared with 63.3 in July. Future confidence saw a significant hike to 71.8, up nearly seven points from 65 last month.

“The overall index of consumer confidence is the highest it’s been in New York in 20 months,” SRI director Douglas Lonnstrom said. “Although a majority of New Yorkers continue to expect tough economic times this year, the scourge of pessimism is now in retreat across nearly every demographic.”

Nationally, overall confidence fell to 65.7 in August from 66 in July. Current confidence was 66.6, down from 70.5 last month. Future confidence saw a gain, to 65 last month from 63.2 in July.

Lonnstrom added that despite cash for clunkers and other incentives, consumers are not convinced this is the time to buy big ticket items.

Concern about high gas prices, he added, “took a healthy fall this month.”

Some 56 percent of upstate consumers said gasoline prices were causing a hardship, down 10 percentage points from 66 percent in July. Sixty-two percent reported food prices were causing a somewhat or very serious financial problem, down from 68 percent in July.

Democrats continued to show the highest overall confidence at 75.9, while Republicans reported the lowest at 60.5.



(c) 2009 Rochester Business Journal. Obtain permission to reprint this article.





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