National Sentiment Slides; New York Up Moderately
Little Upstate/Downstate Division as Upstate Sentiment Jumps by 6 Points in May;
But, Upper Income, Lower Income Live in Different States
Food Worries Soften, Gas Concerns Increase; Plans to Buy Homes, Renovations Surge
Loudonville, NY – The New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment increased 1.6 points in May, while the nation’s Index decreased 2.2 points, according to the latest poll by the Siena (College) Research Institute (SRI). At 76.0, New York’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment is 5.9 points below the nation’s Index of 81.9.
In May, buying plans were up for consumer electronics, 2.1 points to 32.0%, furniture, 4.8 points to 23.9%, homes, 1.1 points to 5.1%, and major home improvements, 3.4 points to 20.3%. Buying plans were down for cars/trucks, 0.1 points to 10.5%.
“While national consumer sentiment slipped this month, New Yorkers’ attitudes towards economic conditions rose moderately,” according to Dr. Doug Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SRI Founding Director. “Where often New York City residents are far more bullish than Upstaters, this month their views are quite similar. The big divide is between upper income residents whose sentiment is seventeen points higher and rising, and lower income New Yorkers who saw a six point decline.
“Over half of lower income residents say that their personal financial situation has deteriorated over the past twelve months while just over a quarter of higher income New Yorkers share that view and twice as many upper income residents say they had recent financial improvement compared with lower income New Yorkers. And asked to forecast coming business conditions, lower income residents see a half empty glass while upper income New Yorkers expect good times this coming year by a solid plurality.”
“The impact of food prices on the monthly budget was down by five points this month driven more by a seven point breather among higher income residents than by the two point drop among lower income New Yorkers. Still, worries over gasoline were up two points and at its highest point since late last summer.
“The sun has brought out some buyers as sentiment has risen. Plans for major home improvements at over twenty percent hit a five year high and home buying rose to just over five percent and has once again approached the five year high. Strong sales related to homes will provide a rippling jolt to our still lagging economy,” Dr. Lonnstrom said.
Gas and Food Price Analysis
Fifty-eight percent of all New Yorkers say that current gasoline prices are having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition. Sixty-four percent 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. Forty-seven percent of state residents say that both gasoline and food prices are having either a somewhat or very serious impact on their finances.
Each month since January 1999, the SRI survey establishes an Index for Consumer Sentiment for New York State consumers. This index allows a direct comparison of New Yorkers to all Americans (“the nation”) as surveyed by the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment. The SRI survey measures current and future consumer sentiment, which combined provides the overall consumer sentiment. SRI also looks at confidence in New York State by region (metro New York City and Upstate), age, income, gender and party.
The SRI Index of Consumer Sentiment was conducted in May 2014 by random telephone calls to 631 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. For more information or comments, please call Dr. Doug Lonnstrom, at 518-783-2362. 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.