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Food prices, 'cliff' dampen metro consumer confidence

Consumer confidence in the metropolitan area dipped this

Consumer confidence in the metropolitan area dipped this past month because of concern about grocery prices and possible tax increases in 2013, according to a poll released Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. (Credit: iStock)

Consumer confidence in the metropolitan area dipped this past month because of concern about grocery prices and possible tax increases in 2013, according to a poll released Thursday.

The decline coincided with the end of the holiday shopping season, which is make or break for many retailers.

The Siena College Research Institute Thursday reported that its confidence index for Long Island, New York City and its northern suburbs was 81.3 points in December, down 1.8 from the previous month.

The index hit a five-year high of 83.1 points in November as superstorm Sandy appeared not to have dampened sentiment despite the damage to many Island communities.

Readings above 76 indicate the number of residents that are optimistic about their financial future is greater than those who are pessimistic.

Siena pollster Don Levy said metropolitan residents, like those across the state, were worried partisan gridlock in Washington over the "fiscal cliff" would result in higher income taxes.

They also were watching food prices. The number of metro area residents saying the cost of groceries was either a "somewhat or very serious problem" rose six percentage points in December to 67 percent from November's 61 percent.
 

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