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NY metro consumer confidence at lowest level since 2013

Shoppers in a Best Buy in Manhattan on

Shoppers in a Best Buy in Manhattan on Nov. 23, 2013. Credit: AP

Consumer confidence in the metropolitan region fell last month to its lowest level since the end of 2013.

The Siena College Research Institute on Thursday reported that its confidence index for Long Island, New York City and its northern suburbs was 76.6 points in May, down 0.9 from a month earlier.

In December 2013, the index was 76.5 points.

Index readings above 76.1 indicate the number of residents who are optimistic about their immediate financial future is higher than the number who are pessimistic.

Siena pollster Doug Lonnstrom said the month-over-month decline was due in part to a divergence of attitudes among the wealthy and the low-income: "Lower income residents see a half-empty glass while upper income New Yorkers expect good times this coming year by a solid plurality."

Siena defines the wealthy as those with income above $100,000, and the low-income as earning less than $50,000.

Among all residents in the metro area, concerns over the cost of food dropped in May. Sixty-two percent of metro area residents said grocery prices were either a very significant or somewhat significant problem last month compared with 69 percent saying so in April.

Worry about the cost of gasoline in the region climbed to 52 percent last month from April's 48 percent.

Still, more residents across the state said they planned to purchase an automobile, home or furniture in the next six months compared with a year ago. The number saying they expected to start a major home improvement project hit a five-year high of 20.3 percent.

Siena does not provide regional breakdowns of residents anticipated purchases.

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