consumer sentiment

Consumer Sentiment Increases A Bit But Remains Down 22 Points from Pre-Pandemic Reality


Despite Re-Opening, Most People Say They Are Worse Off and Expect NYS Economy to Weaken

New York has done its best to tame the beast, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo likes to say referring to the coronavirus, but the pandemic is still raging across the country and the economy is not showing any signs of rebounding full throttle any time soon.

Meanwhile, Congress is grappling over extending economic relief, which may or may not include another stimulus check, extended employment benefits and aid to state and local governments.

For now, uncertainty hangs like the thick humidity of a 90 degree summer day.

Consumers, continuing to deal with ongoing uncertainty, are showing a tepid appetite for spending.

The New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment in second quarter 2020 stands at 71 up 4.6 points from the last measurement in the first quarter of 2020, according to the latest poll by the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI). New York’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment is 7.1 points below the nation’s Index of 78.1. All three indexes for New York are below their breakeven points at which optimism and pessimism balance for the second consecutive quarter.

The national indexes dropped but the overall and current remain above the break-even point while the national future index has also dropped below the break-even point.

“Driven by gains in both current and future sentiment in NYC, the statewide index recovered nearly five points as New Yorkers try to rebound from this pandemic. The overall index, however, is below the break-even point and is down 22 points from the end of 2019. Where pluralities of 16-17 points then said they were better off and expected a good year for the state economy, now, under the coronavirus cloud, by 8-14 points they say that they are personally worse off and that the year ahead will be a rocky one for New York State,” according to Dr. Doug Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SCRI Founding Director.

In the second quarter of 2020, all buying plans were up from the first quarter of 2020 measurement, for cars/trucks to 19.3% (from 18.8%), consumer electronics to 42.1% (from 38.6%), furniture to 25.3% (from 24.2%), homes at 8.7% (from 8.1%), and major home improvements to 23.0% (from 19.0%).

All five buying plans are down between 9 percent (home improvements) to 21 percent (homes) from pre-Coronavirus rates.

Twenty-five percent (down from 27 percent) of all New Yorkers say that current gasoline prices are having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition. This is the lowest percentage in the 12-year history of SCRI’s tracking of the impact of gas prices on New York State consumers.

Fifty-eight percent (up from 55 percent) of state residents indicate that the amount of money they spend on groceries is having either a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their finances.