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Upstate consumer confidence falls in Q2

Courtesy of Siena College Research Institute
Courtesy of Siena College Research Institute

Confidence among Upstate New York consumers fell during the second quarter, bucking both the statewide and national trend, a new survey from Siena College Research Institute shows.

Overall consumer sentiment in Upstate — which includes future and current confidence — fell to 76.6 during the second quarter from 79.7 in the first quarter. Current confidence tumbled to 72 from 80.7, while future confidence rose to 79.8 from 79.1.

Statewide, overall confidence was 83.7 in the second quarter, compared with 82.5 in the first quarter. Current confidence was 77.7, up from 76.9 in the first quarter, while future confidence increased to 87.6 from 86.1.

Nationally, as compiled by the University of Michigan, consumer confidence in the second quarter rose to 85.5 from 84.9 in the first quarter. Current confidence was 88.6, compared with 93 in the first quarter. Future confidence rose to 83.5 from 79.7.

“Consumer sentiment continued to climb this quarter driven by increases in New York City, among Democrats and as the state’s lowest income bracket residents start to see light at the end of their economic tunnel. Overall, New York is up 17 points from the initial COVID shock as belief in a better tomorrow is now nearly as strong as it was before the pandemic. Upstate isn’t moving toward ‘Happy Days’ as quickly as New York City but outside of the city the future looks brighter than it did in March 2020,” said Doug Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SCRI founding director.

Buying plans were up statewide for vehicles, consumer electronics, homes and major home improvements, while plans to purchase furniture were down slightly.

Democrats statewide reported the highest overall confidence in the second quarter at 96.9, while those over the age of 55 reported the lowest at 71.

Some 57 percent of upstate consumers reported that gas prices were having a somewhat or very serious effect on their wallets, up from 47 percent in the first quarter. Sixty-four percent said food prices were a somewhat or very serious problem, compared with 56 percent in the first quarter.

“Demand for major consumer goods is very robust up 20 percent over March 2020 for cars, 31 percent for furniture and 82 percent for home improvements,” Lonnstrom added. “But, as concern over the impact of gas now exceeds 50 percent and approaches two-thirds for food, price increases, or inflation, could slow this recovery.”

This Siena College Poll was conducted June 16-29, 2021, by random telephone calls to 404 New York adults via landline and cell phones and 405 responses drawn from a proprietary online panel of New Yorkers.

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