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NY Consumer Sentiment Up 3rd Straight Month

A picture of cash in a person's pocket

Consumers across New York are optimistic as we enter the second half of 2014. A new survey out shows that while they may not sold on the future, New Yorkers are happy with the present...

The latest poll by the Siena College Research Institute indicates now is a “great time to buy.” The New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment increased 2.8 points in June, while the nation’s Index increased 0.6 points.  Pollster Doug Lonnstrom:    "June was actually a pretty good month. These are index numbers. New York State was up about 3 points, third month in  a row, the current part of the index (it has a current component and a future component) the current component was up over 5 and the future was up over 1."

At 78.8, New York’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment is 3.7 points below the nation’s* index of 82.5.   Lonnstrom says 80 percent of numbers were up across all demographics, marking June as a month of good economic news.   "Forecasts for the future are looking pretty good. Stock market is up near highs. We added almost 300,000 jobs in June. And so people are feeling pretty good about that."

Dan Moran with NextAct of Colonie says the job numbers are high in parallel to consumer confidence: up 4 percent over last year for the first half of 2014.  "This week's job report that just hit the wires this morning is very very good news, showing the national job market has grown significantly. And as well here in the Capital Region and Hudson Valley we've had a pretty steady month of June. Which is very important: June is a bellwether month. It really sets the tone for the second half of the year."

Siena data show motorists worrying less about spending money filling the tank. Pollster Lonnstrom explains the conundrum revolving around gas prices.   "All the news has been gas prices are up twenty cents from where they were a year ago. And then I look at this 'Worry is down 4 percentage points' and I said 'How can that be?' So I kinda looked at that. Several things happened here. One is it's true they're up twenty cents from a year ago but they got there in really small increments, like a penny here, two cents there, there wasn't any sticker shock in that twenty cent increase. Second, it's been much higher before, it's been up over four bucks, we've had gas prices in the high three dollar range now for quite a while, and people are just getting used to it, so there's nothing in these figures that shocked them."

AAA Hudson Valley spokesperson Nancy McMahon says it’s pretty much business as usual for the Independence Day weekend.  "Gas in our area is about twenty cents higher than last year, but in my stores  I'm not really seeing that affect people's travel plans. Sometimes they'll spend less money on other things, such as a hotel or food, but especially after this winter, people are ready to go away."

Lonnstrom adds people are pulling back in spending on food anyway, after all those negative headlines about the drought across America's breadbasket and its effects on corn and beef.

Credit Siena College Research Institute

*National data compiled by the U. of Michigan

The SRI Index of Consumer Sentiment was conducted in June 2014 by random telephone calls to 628 New York State residents over the age of 18. As consumer sentiment is expressed as an index number developed after statistical calculations to a series of questions, “margin of error” does not apply. Buying plans, which
are shown as a percentage based on answers to specific questions, do have a margin of error of + 3.9 points.

Survey cross-tabulations and buying plans can be found at www.siena.edu/sri/cci. SRI is an independent, non-partisan research institute. SRI subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Code of Professional Ethics and Practices.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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