National Sentiment Falls; NY Outlook Lower But Holding Steady

  • U.S. Recovers in Sept. from August Low; NY Even with Nation on Future, Current Trails
  • Auto Buying Plans Up; Gasoline Worries Lesson; Food Concerns Ease

Press Release     Summary Trends     Buying Plans     Gas and Food

Loudonville, NY – The New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment in the third quarter of 2019 stands at 87.7 up 0.6 points from the last measurement in the second quarter of 2019, according to the latest poll by the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI). New York’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment is 5.5 points below the nation’s* Index of 93.2. All three indexes for both the nation and New York are well above their breakeven points at which optimism and pessimism balance indicating strength in the consumer driven marketplace.

ics table oct 2019

“National consumer sentiment is down five points from June but it recovered in September after recording doomsday headlines when August’s numbers fell to recent lows. New York sentiment overall was unchanged since the second quarter, solidly positive, equal to the nation in guarded future optimism but less rosy in our assessment of current conditions. New York City residents drive the future sentiment upwards while Upstaters are only slightly more optimistic than pessimistic when looking ahead. Despite stock market turmoil, tariffs and political battles, for now New Yorkers continue to feel good about the economy,” according to Dr. Doug Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SCRI Founding Director.

“National consumer sentiment is down five points from June but it recovered in September after recording doomsday headlines when August’s numbers fell to recent lows.”

Dr. Doug Lonnstrom, SCRI Founding Director

In the third quarter of 2019, buying plans were up since the second quarter of 2019 measurement for cars/trucks to 26.6% (from 21.1%), consumer electronics to 48.8% (from 46.5%), furniture to 31.7% (from 30.2%), and homes at 10.6% (from 8.6%). Buying plans were down for major home improvements to 25.3% (from 27.8%).

“Plans to purchase cars and trucks jumped over 5 points and at over 26 percent are the highest in the history of this survey. While not recording records, plans to purchase electronics, furniture, homes and home improvements all are strong. Concern over the cost of gasoline fell to 40 percent, the lowest since this time last year, and worries over grocery costs dropped by 4 points,” Lonnstrom said.

index appendix oct 2019

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

ics chart oct 2019

This Siena College Poll was conducted September 3-24, 2019 by random telephone calls to 405 New York adults via landline and cell phones and 403 responses drawn from a proprietary online panel of New Yorkers. Respondent sampling via phone was initiated by asking for the youngest male in the household. The overall results has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.7 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. Telephone sampling was conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample of landline (ASDE) and cell phone (Dynata) telephone numbers from within New York State weighted to reflect known population patterns. Data from the telephone and web samples were blended and statistically adjusted by age, race/ethnicity and gender to ensure representativeness. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in NYS. SCRI, 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 Lonnstrm at 518-783-2362. Survey cross-tabulations and buying plans can be found at