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Despite dip, NY consumer confidence index remains positive


A new consumer sentiment study shows New Yorkers are thinking twice before reaching for their wallets. The Siena Research Institute survey, which calculates consumers’ willingness to spend, has dipped for the second straight quarter. The state’s index score now sits at 82.5, down 2.1 points from June. The drop puts New York 4.7 points below the nation’s score of 87.2.

Siena Research Institute director Douglas Lonnstrom tells WBFO the indexes are usually linked to the economy.

“If the economy starts to move forward and gets stronger, then you’re going to see this optimism go up. That’s going to translate into increased buying plans and you get a positive cycle going,” said Lonnstrom.

Lonnstrom says that New York’s numbers were not overly significant and believes this past quarter was influenced by an erratic stock market decline that caused people to make changes to their purchasing.

Even though New York’s index number puts it into the optimistic range of the study, there is a big divide among people from upstate and downstate. The study shows a confidence gap by 12 points, the largest in two-and-a-half years. 

“Rural areas in this country have essentially been depressed. The farm markets aren’t as strong as they used to be. In upstate New York particularly, we lost a lot of jobs in the 1991 recession and then again in the year 2000. So those high paying jobs were lost in New York State,” says Lonnstrom.

Lonnstrom says the index numbers frequently change.

“These figures were down in the 60s five years ago. Now they’re up in the 80s and even one of the national figures for current confidence is up near 100, which is a pretty good strong indicator that once you’re at the bottom, you can’t go any lower. If it's near the top, it will come back down,” he added.