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66 Percent Worried About Gas Prices; Buying Plans Stay Strong Despite Inflation
The New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment as of March stands at 68, down 5.1 points from the last measurement in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to the latest poll by the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI).
New York’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment is 8.6 points above the nation’s Index of 59.4.
Both the current and future indexes fell about 5 points resulting in New York’s decline from 73.1 last quarter to 68.0 now. The national indexes all decreased between six and nine points.
Overall confidence is higher in New York than nationally with future confidence in New York below the breakeven point of optimism and pessimism but 17.5 points higher than a national low of future confidence not seen since October 2011.
National data compiled by the University of Michigan shows points above/below breakeven point at which sentiment is balanced.
Inflation plus war equals uncertainty for New York consumers.
The index has fallen to where it briefly stood when the coronavirus first slammed our economy. New York’s overall and future numbers are much higher than the national outlook owing to a partisan economic sentiment divide in which Democrats – a better than 2-1 advantage in New York – remain upbeat about the future while Republicans in this survey recorded the lowest consumer sentiment score ever recorded in a Siena survey. Gas prices and their impact is taking our collective breath away, hitting Republicans, Upstaters, and women the hardest.
While buying plans remained strong, increasing for cars, major home improvements are nearly seven points under last year’s forecast,” said Don Levy, SCRI’s Director.
In the first quarter of 2022, buying plans were up from the fourth quarter of 2021 measurement for cars/trucks to 20.6 percent (from 17.8 percent) and homes to 11.1 percent (from 10 percent). Buying plans were down for consumer electronics at 40.7 percent (from 47.1 percent), furniture to 27.1 percent (from 32 percent), and major home improvements to 24.4 percent (from 31.1 percent).
Sixty-six percent (up from 61 percent last quarter) of all New Yorkers say gasoline prices are having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition. Seventy-two percent (unchanged from last quarter) 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.