LOUDONVILLE – Fueled by Downstate optimism, overall consumer confidence remains higher in New York than across the nation, according to the latest poll by the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI), but worries remain about the high cost of food.
“Driven by increasing optimism among New York City residents, younger New Yorkers, Democrats and men, consumer sentiment was up this quarter reaching its highest level since June 2021,” said Don Levy, SCRI’s Director. “But many, including Upstaters, Republicans, those over 55 and women, saw little or no gain in confidence, and they continue to express far more pessimism than optimism. Overall, New York’s index, both an assessment of current conditions and most especially future expectations outpace national sentiment.”
Future confidence in New York is now over three points above the breakeven point of balanced optimism and pessimism and 18.9 points higher than national future confidence.
The New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment now stands at 75.0 up 2.7 points from the last measurement in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the latest poll by the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI). New York’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment is 13.0 points above the nation’s Index of 62.0. The current index increased over 3 points to 70.1 and the future index increased just over 2 points resulting in New York’s measure of future expectations moving from 75.9 last quarter to 78.1 today.
“Gasoline price worries have lessened but remain well above early pandemic lows while food price impact on budgets is now at 81 percent, the highest we have seen in 14 years of tracking this measurement,” said Levy. “Still, expect spring spending to be strong as all buying plans are up with nearly 40 percent of residents expecting their financial condition to improve over the next year and nearly a third saying that now is a good time to purchase major consumer goods.”
In the first quarter of 2023, buying plans were up from the fourth quarter of 2022 measurement for homes at 17.1 percent (from 11.5 percent), for cars/trucks to 28.2 percent (from 25.5 percent), for furniture to 30.8 percent (from 28.4 percent), for major home improvements to 28.0 percent (from 26.1 percent), and for consumer electronics to 45.0 percent (from 44.8 percent).
Sixty-three percent (down from 66 percent last quarter) of all New Yorkers say that current gasoline prices are having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition. Eighty-one percent (up from 79 percent last quarter) of state residents indicate that the amount of money they spend on groceries is having either a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their finances. The previous all-time high for food concern was 80 percent in June 2022.