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Metro area consumer confidence hits 10-year high

A woman loads her car with groceries from

A woman loads her car with groceries from the Stop & Shop in Riverhead on Sept. 7, 2016. Credit: Randee Daddona

Consumer confidence in the metropolitan area hit a new 10-year high in late 2017, according to a survey released Thursday.

The Siena College Research Institute reported its Index of Consumer Sentiment was 93.5 points in November for Long Island, New York City and its northern suburbs.

The index was last at a 10-year high in June, when it was 93.3. That reading matched the one from February 2007, before the region and country fell into recession. A year ago the index was 89.5 points.

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.

Siena pollster Don Levy said Thursday that consumers across all demographic groups, except those with household income below $50,000 per year, were more optimistic than in surveys conducted in late 2016 and 2015.

He also said consumers appear more willing to make big ticket purchases despite lingering concerns about the cost of gasoline and food.

“Buying plans for autos, electronics, furniture, homes and renovations remain robust,” Levy said.

In the metro area, 32 percent of the residents surveyed said pump prices were either a very or somewhat serious problem in November, up from 29 percent in September.

Sixty percent said the cost of groceries was either a very or somewhat serious problem, up from 55 percent in September.

Retailers and economists closely follow confidence indexes because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity.

Siena, based in upstate Loudonville, near Albany, polled 804 adults in New York State between Nov. 6 and 15. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

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