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NY-area consumer confidence fell in February

In this 2012 photo, a customer pumps gasoline

In this 2012 photo, a customer pumps gasoline at a Gulf station in Ronkonkoma. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Consumer confidence in the metropolitan area declined last month as the stock markets were roiled and winter intensified.

The Siena College Research Institute reported Wednesday that its consumer confidence index for Long Island, New York City and its northern suburbs was 77.6 points in February, down 3.4 from the previous month.

Index readings above 76.01 points mean the number of people who are optimistic about their immediate financial future is greater than those who are pessimistic.

The cost of gasoline remained a worry last month. The number of metro area residents saying pump prices were either a very serious or somewhat serious problem increased to 46 percent from January's 42 percent.

Retailers and economists closely follow confidence indexes because they can indicate changes in consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity.

Statewide, the number of people saying they planned to purchase an automobile in the next six months rose in February compared with a year earlier. The number expecting to buy a house, furniture or start a major home improvement project fell year over year.

 

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