Consumer confidence in the metropolitan area dropped last month compared with a year earlier, according to a survey released this week.

The Siena College Research Institute reported its Index of Consumer Sentiment was at 89.3 points in September for Long Island, New York City and its northern suburbs. A year earlier, the index stood at 94.8. 

Consumer sentiment 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.

The index hit a 10-year high of 97.6 points in December 2018.

In the metro area, 39 percent of residents surveyed said gasoline prices were either a very or somewhat serious problem last month, unchanged from Siena's June survey. A year ago, 36 percent of residents were worried about prices at the pump.

In terms of food prices, 62 percent said they were either a very serious or somewhat serious problem last month, down from 68 percent in June. A year ago, 51 percent of residents expressed concern.

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

Siena, based in Loudonville, near Albany, polled 808 adults in New York State between Sept. 3 and 24. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

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