NY Consumer Sentiment Dips Second Consecutive Quarter

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NY Consumer Sentiment Dips Second Consecutive Quarter; Index Remains Positive and Approaches National Score as U.S. Rate Falls
Upstate/Downstate Confidence Gap Widens to Almost 12 points, Largest in 2 ½ Years
Buying Plans All Above Historic Averages; Home Buying at 10% Highest Ever; Gasoline Worries at New Low; Grocery Concerns Continue for Two-Thirds

Loudonville, NY – The New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment in September stands at 82.5 down 2.1 points from the last measurement in June 2015, according to the latest poll by the Siena (College) Research Institute (SRI). New York’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment is 4.7 points below the nation’s* Index of 87.2. All three indexes for both the nation and New York are above their breakeven points at which optimism and pessimism balance.

“Consumer sentiment fell by another two points this quarter but remains in positive territory. Nationally, the index dropped nearly nine points and stands less than five points higher than New York. New Yorkers are more optimistic than the national sample but that upbeat view is driven almost entirely by downstaters as the gap between Upstate and New York City area residents is wider than we’ve seen in two and a half years” according to Dr. Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SRI Founding Director.
In September, buying plans were up since the June 2015 measurement for consumer electronics, to 40.7% (from 36.6%), homes, at 10.4 (from 7.0%), and major home improvements, at 19.3% (from 18.8%). Buying plans were down for cars/trucks, at 17.1% (from 18.9%) and furniture, at 22.2% (from 26.3%).
“Consumer buying plans this quarter for each of the five major purchases exceed their historic averages. Jumping off the page is homebuying as ten percent of New Yorkers are looking to buy, a rate we haven’t seen in over fifteen years of polling residents. Whether driven by inventory, a new normal of better than breakeven sentiment or ‘get in before interest rates increase’, real estate should move this quarter,” Lonnstrom said.

Thirty-five percent of all New Yorkers say that current gasoline prices are having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition. Sixty-nine 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. Thirty percent of state residents say that both gasoline and food prices are having either a somewhat or very serious impact on their finances.

“Declining gas prices drove fuel concerns to the lowest we’ve seen in the seven years we’ve tracked it while over two-thirds remain worried about the effect grocery costs are having on their budget,” Lonnstrom said.

This Siena College Poll was conducted September 1-27, 2015 by telephone calls conducted in English to 800 New York State residents. Respondent sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest male in the household. It has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting when applied to buying plans and/or the perceived impacts of gas and food prices. As consumer sentiment is expressed as an index number developed after statistical calculations to a series of questions, “margin of error” does not apply to those indices. Sampling was conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample provided by Survey Sampling International of landline and cell phone telephone numbers from within New York State weighted to reflect known population patterns. Data was statistically adjusted by age, region, gender and race/ethnicity to ensure representativeness. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in NYS. SRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information or comments, please call Dr. Doug Lonnstrom, SRI’s Founding Director, at 518-783-2362. Survey cross-tabulations and buying plans can be found at www.siena.edu/sri/cci.

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