Consumer confidence in the metropolitan area fell slightly last month on concerns about gasoline prices and the economy.
The Siena College Research Institute on Monday reported its consumer confidence index for Long Island, New York City and its northern suburbs in December was 76.5 points, down 0.5 from November.
An index reading above 76.1 points indicates the number of people who are optimistic about their financial future is larger than the number of people who are pessimistic.
Siena pollster Donald Levy said, "The economist within us seems to be saying that 'the overall economy is getting better but I want to see it, feel it and perhaps taste it, before I will believe it.' "
Worry about the cost of gasoline was the highest it's been in four months. In December, 47 percent of metro area residents said pump prices were either a significant or very significant problem. Forty-nine percent said so in September.
Confidence indexes are closely followed by retailers because they can signal a willingness by shoppers to open their wallets more frequently. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity in the region, state and nation.
Statewide, the number of residents telling Siena they planned to purchase an automobile or house within the next six months was higher than in December 2012. The number of people intending to buy furniture or start a major home improvement project was down, year over year.