An index of New York State consumer sentiment has tumbled to levels not seen in almost a decade, according to the Siena College Poll released Wednesday.
The statewide index for the quarter ended March 31 fell 26.6 points to 66.4 from 2019's fourth quarter.
That was the lowest level since 2011 and compared to 89.1 for the nation overall.
The state's numbers were roughly in line with the 64.8 points among residents of the New York City metropolitan area, including Long Island and its northern suburbs. That region recorded its lowest reading since the 63.6 result in November 2011.
Professor Doug Lonnstrom, founding director of the Siena College Research Institute, which produces the poll, attributed the erosion in sentiment to the coronavirus crisis.
"As the coronavirus took hold of New York, consumer sentiment fell precipitously," he said in a statement.
Fifty-eight percent of those polled statewide in the first quarter said it is not a good time to make major consumer purchases.
Plans to buy homes fell to 8.1% from 11.1%, while major home improvements declined to 19% from 25.2%.
Plans to buy cars and trucks fell to 18.8% from 21.6%, while consumer electronics slipped to 38.6% from 52.4%.
Plans to buy furniture declined to 24.2% from 31%.
In a breakdown by groups statewide, Republicans were far more optimistic than Democrats (79.7 versus 59.9 points) and men were more optimistic than women (73.3 versus 60).
Likewise, those with incomes of $100,000 or more were more optimistic than those who earned less than $50,000, 77 to 64.5.
The poll, with an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points,was conducted by random telephone calls March 30 to April 2.
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