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Siena poll: Metro area consumer confidence hits 10-year high

The new level, at 94.8 points last month for Long Island, New York City and its northern suburbs, surpasses a 10-year high set in November 2017, when the index was at 93.5 points. 

A factor contributing to higher consumer confidence is

A factor contributing to higher consumer confidence is a decrease in the number of residents concerned about the cost of gasoline. Above, gas prices are changed at a Mobil station on Route 109 in North Lindenhurst on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

Consumer confidence in the metropolitan area hit a new 10-year high in September, according to a survey released Monday.

The Siena College Research Institute reported its Index of Consumer Sentiment was at 94.8 points last month for Long Island, New York City and its northern suburbs.

The new level surpasses a 10-year high set in November 2017, when the index was at 93.5 points. In September 2017, the index was 91.4.

Index readings above 76 points indicate that the number of residents who are optimistic about their immediate financial future is larger than the number who are pessimistic.

“New Yorkers remain bullish about the economy and their personal finances," Siena pollster Doug Lonnstrom said Monday. "Concerns over both the bite food and gas take out of the monthly budget fell” last month compared with June’s index reading.

In the metro area, 33 percent of residents surveyed said pump prices were either a very or somewhat serious problem in September, down from 36 percent in June. A year ago, 29 percent of residents were concerned about the cost of gasoline.

In terms of food prices, 51 percent said they were either a very or somewhat serious problem last month, down from 58 percent in June. A year ago, 55 percent of residents expressed concern.

The price declines between June and last month “contribute to the growing optimism and should lead to freer consumer spending,” Lonnstrom said.

Retailers and economists closely follow confidence indexes because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity. Siena’s September index reading could indicate a strong holiday shopping season in the metro area.

Siena, based in upstate Loudonville, near Albany, polled 802 adults in New York State between Sept. 8 and 17. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

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