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Siena Survey Sees Consumer Confidence Rise


A Siena College poll released this week shows strong consumer sentiment in New York.

The poll shows  New York’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment remains in the low 90’s for the third consecutive quarter. As the U.S. inflation rate remains in check and the National Consumer Price Index rising only 0.4 percent,  Siena College Research Institute director Doug Lonnstrom  finds the poll results interesting.    "Last year ended with a lot of turmoil, particularly in the stock market in December, so I really wasn't sure what this first quarter would look like. We're down a little, but still strong, OK? We're 17 points over the break-even point between optimism and pessimism. So people are feeling pretty good. Still, New York state is below the U.S. by about 12 points in current, but we're still over a hundred, index number of a hundred, so that's pretty strong and we're almost even with the nation on the futures, so that's lookin' good too."

Lonnstrom says such consumer optimism may steer politics in the near future.   "Fifty percent of our people think they're better off now than they were a year ago, and another 42 percent think they're gonna be better next year. That may help Trump."

Fifty-four percent of all survey respondents think current gasoline prices are having a serious or somewhat serious impact on their personal finances. Fifty-nine percent have concerns about the price of food.   "About 44 percent, four in 10, a little over four in 10 are concerned that gas prices are hurting the budget and gas prices have crept up in this quarter, so that's a factor, and about six out of 10 think food prices are hurting the budget, and that's remained fairly constant for quite a while."

Although average gasoline prices in the U.S. are up around 50 cents a gallon since January, Lonnstrom says any gas or grocery worries should not slow the economy. He notes that  New Yorkers say they're ready to spend more on everything this quarter, exceeding last quarter's numbers.   "The buying plans are strong. One out four are looking to buy a car in the next six months. Half the people expect to buy consumer electronics, TV, tablets, et cetera.  About a third are gonna buy some furniture, about a quarter are gonna make major improvements and about one in 10 planning to buy a home, so the buying plans look pretty good."

The Siena poll was conducted between March 7 and March 20, via random telephone calls to 384 New York adults via landline and cell phones. Another 420 responses were drawn from "a proprietary online panel of New Yorkers."  Follow the links below:

Summary Trends     Buying Plans     Gas and Food

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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