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Consumer Confidence Dips As Gas Prices Rise

Michael Senchuk, flickr

Loudonville, NY (WIBX) – Another month of stagnant stock market and job numbers and rising gas prices are contributing to a slight dip in this month’s consumer confidence.

New York’s confidence dropped one and a half points, and below the breakeven point of 75, where optimism equals pessimism. Nationwide, confidence rose two points, but also still sits below the equalization point.

Douglas Lonnstrom, founding director of the Siena Research Institute, says since the beginning of 2012,  consumer confidence has wavered within two points of 75, ranging between 73 and 76.

“We seem to go up, then we seem to go back down,” Lonnstrom said. “From June to July, we went up a little bit, but not much. Then July to August we went down a little bit, so people are just reacting to what’s happening in the news, and there’s just nothing out there pushing us solidly in one direction or the other.”

Lonnstrom says home and home improvement buying plans were down for the month, as were furniture plans. But, buying plans rose more than 2 points for computers and nearly one point for vehicles. He says various back to school and model year end sales contributed to the spikes, respectively.

Gas and food prices are still causing worries, especially in Upstate New York, where nearly 60 percent of those polled said the higher costs are posing a somewhat or very serious problem. Statewide, nearly half of all respondents felt the same way.

Still, New York’s confidence has risen nearly 16 points in the last four years, and is now matching 2007 numbers. The state also has a much cheerier outlook towards the future than the nation, with more than a nine point edge.

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