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State Consumer Sentiment Down This Quarter, Up From Year Ago

Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

Loudonville, NY (WIBX) – Consumer sentiment in Utica dipped slightly from last quarter, but remains much higher than this time last year.

According to the Siena Research Institute, Utica’s confidence fell one point to 62.4, and remains the lowest of New York’s nine metropolitan statistical areas. New York City is still the state’s most confident area, rising another three points to 82.4 and reaching an index of 108 percent compared to equilibrium.

But, Utica’s score is still 19 percent better than 2011, and ranks among the most improved cities in the state. SRI’s founding director, Douglas Lonnstrom, says these results hint towards a better holiday purchasing season.

“My feeling right now is that it’s going to be really good,” Lonnstrom said. “We’re certainly much more optimistic going into this holiday season than we were a year ago. If that trend continues, unless something bad happens like $5 gas prices, I think we’re going to have a pretty good Christmas season.”

Buying plans also proved to be a mixed bag across the state. In Utica, plans for vehicles, furniture and homes fell, though computers and major home improvements gained traction. Lonnstrom says computer buying plans have especially been doing quite well.

“Generally speaking, you’re not going to get a lot of people saying they’re going to buy a home; you don’t just buy a home every six months,” Lonnstrom said. “On the other side of the coin, looking at this upcoming holiday season, computer buying plans are up in every city, except Long Island. [Computers are] more of a short term purchase, so people are planning to buy computers for this holiday season. Home buying is not so good at this stage.”

Fall numbers were based off of totals from July, August and September results. Lonnstrom says weak numbers and rising gas prices stifled confidence during the summer months, but as the temperatures cooled, gas prices leveled off and made September numbers stronger.

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