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Declining gas prices steady metro consumer confidence

A customer pumps gas at Shamrock gas station

A customer pumps gas at Shamrock gas station in Baldwin. (June 1, 2011) Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

Consumer confidence in the metropolitan area held steady last month as worries about gasoline prices receded.

The Siena College Research Institute reported Thursday that its confidence index for Long Island, New York City and its northern suburbs fell 0.1 points to 77.8 in June compared with a month earlier.

A year ago, the area index was 67.1. For all of 2012 it has been above 75, the level that indicates the number of people bullish about their economic circumstance exceeds those who are pessimistic.

Siena pollster Douglas Lonnstrom credited the decline in the cost of gasoline.

Forty-eight percent of metro area residents told Siena last month that pump prices were either a "very serious" or "somewhat serious" problem. That's down from 60 percent on March.

The number of consumers worried about food prices also declined, but not as dramatically.

Sixty-three percent of metro residents said the cost of food was a "somewhat or very serious" problem. In March, 69 percent said food prices were problematic.

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