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LI consumer confidence shows slight uptick in poll

In a Siena College Research Institute poll Tuesday

In a Siena College Research Institute poll Tuesday that showed a slight increase in consumer confidence among Long Islanders, people said they had plans to buy electronics in the next six months. (Dec. 26, 2013) Credit: AP

Long Islanders were more optimistic about their immediate economic well-being in the October-December period than most state residents, according to a new poll.

The Siena College Research Institute Tuesday reported its consumer confidence index for Nassau and Suffolk counties rose seven-tenths of a point to 72 in the last three months of 2013 compared with the July-September period.

Of the state's nine regions, only the Island recorded an increase in its confidence index, quarter over quarter.

The Island's index reading of 72 points was the second highest in the state after New York City's 75.4 in the fourth quarter.

"This likely reflects strong jobs growth and relatively low unemployment on Long Island as well as an improving housing market," said John A. Rizzo, chief economist for the Long Island Association business group.

However, the region's confidence index remains below the 76-point midway mark, meaning the number of people who are pessimistic about their financial future is greater than the number who are optimistic.

The Island's index ended last year 1.6 points below 2012's 73.6 reading.

Siena pollster Donald Levy said, "Consumers are not starting 2014 on a hopeful note in New York."

Retailers closely monitor consumer confidence because it can indicate a shift in consumer expenditures.

Asked by Siena about buying plans through June, fewer Nassau-Suffolk residents said they planned to purchase an automobile, furniture or house or start a major home improvement project than said so in the July-September period. The sole increase, quarter over quarter, was the number of residents expecting to buy consumer electronics such as a computer or tablet.

At the Westfield Sunrise mall in Massapequa Tuesday, some shoppers expressed cautious optimism about the economy. Judy Murphy, a retiree from Massapequa Park, said, "I know the recession is supposed to be over, and I see some positive developments, but I'm still worried. A lot could go wrong this year."

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