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Confidence falls among upstate consumers

Confidence falls among upstate consumers

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Confidence among Upstate New York consumers fell to its lowest point in three years, a quarterly report from Siena College Research Institute shows.

Overall confidence, which includes future and current confidence, in upstate fell to 85.2 in the second quarter, down from 89 in the first quarter and 90.7 a year ago. Current confidence was 93.6, compared with 101.2 in the first quarter and last year. Future confidence dropped to 79.8 from 81.3 last quarter and 83.9 a year ago.

Upstate confidence continues to trail both the state and the nation. Statewide, overall confidence was 87.1, down from 93.3 last quarter and 89.2 in the year-ago quarter. Current confidence fell to 92.1 from 101.2 in the first quarter and 96.6 a year ago. Future confidence registered 83.9 statewide, compared with 88.3 last quarter and 84.4 a year ago.

“After three consecutive quarters of robust consumer sentiment, the New York index nose-dived, falling over six points,” SCRI Founding Director Doug Lonnstrom said in a statement. “Despite remaining well above the breakeven point at which optimism and pessimism are balanced, every group—men, women, upstate, downstate, young and old—recorded declining sentiment, driven more so by their current outlook than by their future.”

Nationwide, consumer confidence in the second quarter fell slightly to 98.2 from 98.4 in the first quarter but was unchanged from a year ago. Current confidence was 111.9, down from 113.3 in the first quarter and 116.5 in the second quarter last year. Future confidence nationally rose to 89.3 from 88.8 in the second quarter and 86.1 a year ago.

Buying plans statewide in the second quarter were up for major home improvements, but down for vehicles, consumer electronics, furniture and homes.

“Perhaps driven by news of tariffs, trade wars, stock market volatility or the start of the 2020 campaign, a shrinking plurality of New Yorkers now say that they are better off financially today than they were a year ago,” Lonnstrom said. “Overall, a growing percentage of New Yorkers amidst falling current sentiment expressed indecision towards making major purchases.”

The percentage of upstaters who are somewhat or seriously concerned about gas prices fell slightly from 50 percent to 49 percent in the second quarter. Some 57 percent of respondents said food prices were a somewhat or very serious problem, compared with 62 percent in the first quarter.

Republicans reported the highest overall consumer confidence in the second quarter at 94.1, while those in the lower income bracket reported the lowest at 81.9.

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