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CONSUMER SENTIMENT: What are Upstate New York’s biggest economic concerns for 2023?

According to the latest consumer sentiment index from Siena College, New Yorkers are feeling slightly more pessimistic than optimistic about the economy. 


The overall index for the state stands at 72, just below the threshold of 75 that indicates a balance between optimism and pessimism. This overall number is influenced heavily by attitudes in the New York City area, where the index is 11 points higher than in Upstate New York.

Recently, FingerLakes1.com caught up with Dr. Don Levy, from SCRI to discuss the latest data. 

Upstate residents are feeling particularly concerned about inflation, with the cost of food and gasoline weighing heavily on their budgets. Despite this pessimism, the upstate index of 65 is still stronger than the national index, which has typically been lower than the New York state index in the past.

“So the overall index for Upstate is a little bit over 65, about 11 points under the New York City index,” Levy explained. “So there is certainly lingering pessimism lingering concern about inflation, the cost of food, the cost of gasoline amongst Upstate is far more than folks in New York City. Interestingly, when you compare New York State and or upstate New York to the national, we see an interesting trend for many, many years, the New York index would reside slightly lower than the national rate. At present, we are meaningfully higher as a state than the national number.”

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

In addition to the overall index, the Siena survey also looks at intentions to make major purchases, such as cars and homes. While these intentions are lower in Upstate New York, they remain higher than the national average.

One factor, Levy says, is that consumers are still feeling some strength from saving during the coronavirus pandemic. Those who were not negatively impacted by that period of time — continue to enjoy a little more optimism about where things stand.

“One thing that continues is that some folks who hunkered down during the pandemic, put some money away — and so there are still many people who have some savings, and right now they might be worried about inflation or economic security — but that doesn’t mean they don’t have some money nested away,” he explained. “So you might see some slowed spending in the coming months, but there is some lag.”

Overall, the results of the latest consumer sentiment survey suggest that while New Yorkers are feeling somewhat uncertain about the economy, there is still a willingness to spend and contribute to economic growth. This is particularly true in the New York City area, but even Upstate residents are showing a degree of confidence despite their concerns about rising costs. The survey also found that men, Democrats, and higher income individuals were more optimistic than women, Republicans, and lower income individuals.



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