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Consumer confidence increases Upstate in February

By Rick Seltzer


Consumer confidence rose in upstate New York in February, contrasting with the state as a whole, where confidence levels did not change from last month.

Upstate New York’s overall consumer-confidence index showed increasing optimism among consumers in February, increasing 2.4 points to 71.9, according to a monthly survey from the Siena (College) Research Institute. It was the fourth month in a row that confidence grew Upstate.

The region had a better view of current times than of the future, as current confidence rose three points to 76.9. Future confidence was lower, rising 1.9 points to 68.6.

February’s climb in confidence pushed Upstate closer to the survey’s break-even point of 75. That is the point at which consumers indicate equal amounts of optimism and pessimism.

Index results below 75 show that more consumers responded to the survey with negative answers than positive ones. Any results above 75 indicate more consumers gave positive answers.

New York as a whole continued to display confidence levels just under the survey’s break-even point. Statewide, February’s overall confidence index remained the same as last month’s at 74.8.

“These are fascinating figures to me,” says Douglas Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SRI founding director. “If we go back to January, [statewide] consumer confidence was up about eight points. And in February we stayed absolutely flat — no movement at all. One thing is offsetting the other.”

The statewide current confidence index edged up 1.5 points to 73.5. But the state’s future confidence index dropped 0.9 points to 75.7.

SRI conducted the survey by making random telephone calls to 804 New York residents over the age of 18 in February.

National consumer confidence also stagnated in February, inching up just 0.3 points to 75.3, according to the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index. Current confidence dropped 1.2 points to 83, while future confidence gained 1.2 points to 70.3.

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